Ever since members of the Religious Society of Friends, better known as Quakers, began meeting together in eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia in the 17th century, they buried their dead -- some in family and others in meeting (church) cemeteries. Although early Quakers did not mark graves with tombstones because they believed in living simple, modest lives, they did document deaths and sometimes burials, along with births and marriages. From the 19th century onward, Friends have marked burials with inscribed tombstones, though many continue to avoid elaborate monuments. While established by Friends, these cemeteries may also include non-Quaker family members or neighbors who never formally joined Friends.
This is a finding aid for resources in the Quaker Archives at Guilford College, with library books and additional online resources.
This guide includes references to historical cemeteries within the compass of North Carolina Yearly Meeting, which includes select monthly meetings in Georgia, Virginia and South Carolina. Sources, including those in the Quaker Archives, are mentioned in the abbreviations below. Information is presented for genealogical research, historical tourism, beginning clues for further property research, and those looking for information about modern-day care of seemingly abandoned cemeteries. Deed information is extracted from historical files and is not meant to be used as legal documentation.
*Note: This is an ongoing project with priority placed on those cemeteries for which we receive the most inquiries about from researchers. Additional cemeteries may be added over time. This focus is on cemeteries that are currently and/or historically under the care of a Quaker meeting (church). There are additional cemeteries that are associated with Quakers but established and maintained as private family grounds which are not reflected in this guide. Questions, corrections, and update for this guide can be sent to email@example.com.
Cemeteries are listed under the alphabetical tabs by monthly meeting name. Here is a list to cross-reference by county. Historical counties, as listed in early documents, are added in parenthesis after modern counties.
Alamance (Orange): Cane Creek MM, Spring MM, West Grove MM
Bladen: Carvers Creek PM
Cartaret: Core Sound MM
Chatham: Chatham MM, Edward Hill MM, Napton, Plainfield MM, Rocky River MM, South Fork MM
Davie: Dutchman's Creek PM
Davidson: Pine Woods PM
Forsyth (Stokes): Union (Muddy Creek)
Guilford: Centre MM, Concord MM, Deep River MM, Dover MM, Hopewell MM, New Garden MM, Springfield MM, Trotter's Creek PM
Moore: High Falls MM, Prosperity MM
Northhampton: Cedar Grove MM, Rich Square MM
Orange: Eno PM
Pasquotank: Elizabeth City (The Narrows PM, Quaker Cemetery), Newbegun Creek PM, Oak Grove?
Pasquotank (Perquimans): Symons Creek MM (Little River, Pasquotank)
Perquimans: Little River MM, Old Neck PM (Sutton's Creek, Perquimans, Piney Woods, Toms graveyard)
Randolph: Back Creek MM, Bethel MM, Cedar Square MM, Holly Spring MM, Marlboro MM, Old Stone Graveyard (Mill Creek PM, Cox's Settlement), Poplar Ridge MM, Science Hill MM, South Plainfield MM, Uwharrie PM
Randolph (Rowan): Providence MM
Richmond (sometimes Marlborough County, S.C.): Pee Dee MM (Hailey's Ferry Quaker Cemetery)
Surry: Ararat MM, Friends Union MM, Pine Hill MM, Union Hill MM, Westfield MM, White Plains MM
Wayne: Bethany MM, Bethesda MM, Contentnea MM, Hollowell-Massey Cemetery, Nahunta MM, Neuse MM, Pearson-Edgerton Cemetery, Woodland MM
Yadkin: Branon MM, Deep Creek MM, East Bend MM, Forbush MM, Gold Springs MM, Harmony Grove MM, Mount Carmel MM, Pilot View MM, Union Cross MM
Yadkin (Surry): Hunting Creek MM
McDuffie (Columbia): Wrightsborough MM
Kershaw (Craven): Fredericksburgh MM (Camden, Wateree)
Newberry: Bush River MM
Union: Cane Creek MM, Padgett's Creek, unknown Quaker cemetery
Carroll (Grayson): Chestnut Creek MM, Mount Pleasant MM (Old Quaker Graveyard)
Grayson: Mountain View MM
City of Lynchburg (Campbell): South River MM (Quaker Memorial Presbyterian Church)
Suffolk: Somerton MM
Sources of information are given in parentheses.
CC – NCYM Cemetery Committee files, most compiled by former committee clerk Ted Perkins.
Com. – Committee
D – Deeds at Guilford College Quaker Archives
Hill – Hill, Thomas C. Monthly Meetings in North America: A Quaker Index, Fourth Edition (Cincinnati, Ohio), 1994; as updated at quakermeetings.com (viewed 2017).
Hinshaw – Hinshaw, William Wade. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Volume I (Ann Arbor, Mich.: Edwards Brothers, Inc.), 1936.
MM – Monthly Meeting
ms, mss – manuscript, manuscripts: unpublished documents, correspondence, or draft documents for later publication.
NCYM – North Carolina Yearly Meeting. In some contexts NCYM denotes the Meeting for Sufferings, the actual yearly meeting body, Trustees, or Representative Body, acting as administrative entities for the yearly meeting. Some of the oldest entries simply state Quakers or the Religious Society of Friends, but the context is interpreted as the larger body instead of the monthly meeting.
PA – Property abstracts, compiled from NCYM minutes by Carole Treadway, 1984.
PM – Particular Meeting or Preparatory Meeting, an unofficial church group under the care of an official monthly meeting. For genealogical, historical or religious research, look in the monthly meeting minutes and records.
QM – Quarterly Meeting
Weeks – Weeks, Stephen B. Southern Quakers and Slavery: A Study in Institutional History (Baltimore: The John Hopkins Press), 1896.
VF – Vertical files at Guilford College Quaker Archives