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Old Settlers cemetery is often referred to as the Presbyterian Burying Ground because of its location across the street from First Presbyterian Church, but despite the proximity the cemetery has no connection to the church. It was the first municipal burying ground in Charlotte and the only non-denominational cemetery in the city. The oldest known burial in the cemetery is Joel Baldwin, who died on October 21, 1776, at the age of 26. The cemetery also contains the graves of heroic Civil War and Revolutionary War veterans, governors, senators, and founders of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, including members of the Polk, Graham, Berryhill, Davidson, and Alexander families. The northwest corner of the cemetery was reserved for slaves of the families whose members are buried elsewhere in the cemetery. Thomas Polk, one of the founding fathers of Charlotte and a relative of former president James K. Polk, is buried here, as is Colonel Thomas Polk, the great uncle of president James K. Polk, who died in 1793 and was one of the county’s first commissioners and one of the signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence. One of the most impressive monuments in the cemetery is an obelisk engraved with the name of William Davidson (1778-1857), a North Carolina Senator who was first elected in 1813 and served four terms. He was also elected to Congress as a Federalist and served from 1818 to 1821. The most interesting markers in Old Settlers Cemetery belong to Confederate veterans. The obelisk monument that marks the grave of Colonel William Allison Owens of the 53rd Regiment, N.C.T., bears the iron cross marker that signifies the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Owens was wounded in Snickers Gap, Virginia, on July, 18, 1864, and died the next day. His grave is the last one in the cemetery that bears a Confederate marker, though other Confederate soldiers are thought to be buried here. In 1867, the cemetery reached its capacity and the city closed it, allowing a small number of burials with special permission until 1884. The cemetery was neglected for the next 40 years, until the Charlotte Park and Tree Commission stepped in to undertake preservation efforts in 1906. In conjunction with Daughters of the American Revolution (D.A.R) Auxiliary Committee for Cemetery Square, the cemetery was cleaned up and iron gates with granite gateposts were installed. The gate and gateposts are still in place today and have become one of the cemetery’s most recognizable features. Over the years, the D.A.R. attempted to take care of the cemetery, doing some of the work themselves and often hiring professionals to handle landscaping and monument repairs. In 1925, the committee planted an oak tree to commemorate George Washington’s visit to Charlotte in 1791. In 1932, a bronze plaque was placed by the tree to mark Washington’s 200th birthday. Despite the efforts of the D.A.R., the cemetery was in dire need of attention by the 1950s. The city launched a beautification campaign that included $10,000 for landscaping, cement walkways, electric lights, and a fountain in the cemetery. The project was completed in 1953. In 1968, another beautification campaign was launched to repair the cemetery from the effects of vandalism and vagrants. The project included a $195,000 fund to turn Old Settlers Cemetery into an inner-city park. New landscaping, brick walkways, benches, and a three-tiered fountain were installed, the monuments were cleaned and repaired, and it became a city showpiece. Today, it’s a historical landmark and a popular park.

Old Settlers Cemetery is the oldest burial ground in Mecklenburg County.

The order they observed in their triumph. Their order in Tulsa Map conducting him was thus; Drawing themselves all in fyle, the King in the middest had all Tulsa Map their Peeces and Swords borne before him. Captaine Smith was led after him by three great Salvages, holding him fast by each arme: and on each side six went in fyle with their Arrowes nocked. But arriving at the Towne (which was but onely thirtie or fortie hunting houses made of Mats, which they remove as they please, as we our tents) all the women and children staring to behold him, the souldiers first all in fyle performed the forme of a Bissom so well as could be, and on each flanke, officers as Serjeants to see them keepe their orders. A good time they continued this exercise, and then cast themselves in a ring, dauncing in such severall Postures, and singing and yelling out such hellish notes and screeches; being strangely painted, every one his quiver of Arrowes, and at his backe a club; on his arme a Fox or an Otters skinne, or some such matter for his vambrace; their heads and shoulders painted red, with Oyle and Pocones mingled together, which Scarlet-like colour made an exceeding handsome shew; his Bow in his hand, and the skinne of a Bird with her wings abroad dryed, tyed on his head, a peece of copper, a white shell, a long feather, with a small rattle growing at the tayles of their snaks tyed to it, or some such like toy. All this while Smith and the King stood in the middest guarded, as before is said, and after three dances they all departed. Smith they conducted to a long house, where thirtie or fortie tall fellowes did guard him, and ere long more bread and venison was brought him then would have served twentie men, I thinke his stomacke at that time was not very good; what he left they put in baskets and tyed over his head. About midnight they set the meate againe before him, all this time not one of them would eate a bit with him, till the next morning they brought him as much more, and then did they eate all the old, & reserved the new as they had done the other, which made him thinke they would fat him to eat him. Yet in this desperate estate to defend him from the cold, one Maocassater brought him his gowne, in requitall of some beads and toyes Smith had given him at his first arrivall in Virginia. How he should have beene slaine at Orapacks.

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