Remembering Our Dead

Join Chapel Hill Public Library staff and community members as we uncover the untold histories of Chapel Hill, from the inside out and bottom up.

In this episode, we explore the ways that cemeteries act as memorials and markers. How do Chapel Hill’s cemeteries help us remember the people who came before us? How have they obscured the past? Join us and our special tour guide, local historian Ernest Dollar, as we walk through four Chapel Hill burial sites.

Associate producer, Mandella Younge, joins Danita as co-host for this episode. Mandella works behind the scenes on Re/Collecting Chapel Hill.

Podcast production team: Mandella Younge, Sam Bermas-Dawes, Klaus Mayr, Molly Luby, Danita Mason-Hogans, and Ryan Chamberlain. With thanks to Aaron Keane for audio recording, technical assistance and production coaching.

Episode Links:

  • Cemetery Census: Purefoy Family Cemetery — Condition is fair. Several large trees and quite a few young trees cover the area along with periwinkle. Report has it that the plot was originally surrounded by a stone wall several feet high, but except for the east wall and a part of the north wall, most of the stones have disappeared [1974].
  • Cemetery Census: Purefoy and Related Families (Black) — This is possibly the burial place of African-Americans who were servants of the Purefoy family that owned and farmed this property, and later of their descendants.
  • Old Chapel Hill Cemetery | Town of Chapel Hill, NC — The Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, originally called the College Graveyard, is located on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
  • Caswell County Historical Association: Nelly Strowd Strayhorn (1850-1950) — Chapel Hill Cemetery Section A Nellie Strowd Strayhorn, 1850-1950. Died at the age of 100. Toney Strayhorn. Toney Strayhorn was a former slave who became a brick mason as well as one of the founders and and associate ministers of the Rock Hill Baptist Church. This was the first African American church in Orange County. He also owned land, and built a two story farmhouse which is still located on Jones Ferry Road, Carrboro. Toney Strayhorn shares the same grave marker as Nellie Strowd Srayhorn, who was his wife. This family plot is surrounded by brick masonry and is quite visible in Section A.
  • “A Home of Dreams” Preserving the Strayhorn House – YouTube — Built by former slaves, Toney and Nelly Strayhorn in 1879, the Strayhorn House is in need of preservation. This African-American landmark is still owned by descendants of the couple and need help to repair this historic treasure.
  • The Search for Susie’s Weaver’s Freedom in Chapel Hill

Season one of Re/Collecting Chapel Hill was supported by grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the State Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.