River Cemetery in Pisgah Forest is among the oldest cemeteries in Transylvania
County. It is just over 2.3 acres and
contains approximately 600 graves. The
oldest marked tombstone reads, “Thomas Patton b. 1726, d. Mar 29, 1808.” Many early settlers and county leaders are
buried there. Family names include Cagle,
Clayton, Deaver, Davidson, English, Gash, Hamilton, Lyday, Mackey, Neill, Orr, Patton,
Poor, Young and many more.
|Smoke from the burning of cleared over growth gives the old cemetery
an eerie appearance.
Glade Creek Baptist Church paid $100 for about 0.16 acres on the northeast corner
of the cemetery for a place to bury African-American members of the community.
Edna Street Reid was instrumental in creating the Davidson River Cemetery Board
of Trustees. Her interest stemmed from a
desire to revitalize the cemetery where much of her family was buried. Reid and others worked tirelessly to clean up
trash and over growth, erase motorcycle paths, repair sunken graves, clean and
repair headstones, and raise funds to support the once neglected cemetery. They also undertook deed research to
establish the property’s boundaries. The
group won 2nd place in the Western North Carolina Beautification
program for their efforts two years in a row.
Avery Chapter of DAR has worked to mark the graves of Revolutionary War
soldiers, beginning with Thomas Patton’s grave in 1976. There are also a number of veterans of the Civil War, WWI, and WWII, as well as others who served in the military buried at Davidson River.
2017 David Reid donated his mother’s cemetery records to the Rowell Bosse North
Carolina Room to provide current and future researchers with access to this
information. Included is a three-binder
containing the Board’s Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws, years’ worth of
minutes and other records, plus correspondence. An additional notebook provides a census of
burials and information on unmarked graves.
A scrapbook kept by Mrs. Reid contains photographs and articles chronicling
the journey to restore and protect the Davidson River Cemetery.
|Clean-up reveals an important piece of Transylvania’s history.|
Over the next few week’s Picturing the Past
will feature a few other Transylvania cemeteries.
and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina
Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit
the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about
our history and see additional photographs.
For more information, comments or suggestions contact Marcy at [email protected] or 828-884-1820.