New Bethel Memorial Gardens

36.015834, -78.940265

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Hickstown Cemetery was started in the late 1800s as a burial place for poor black workers at Erwin Mills. The cemetery also had many white interments up until 1915 or so. Over 1000 Durhamites were buried in Hickstown Cemetery, and later distributed among other cemeteries in town to make room for the construction of the Durham Freeway. As far as I can tell, no portion of the original Hickstown cemetery actually was located where 147 went through, alhough it's close. For the full and fascinating history of the neighborhood and how it was literally cornered in, click here

The cemetery moved right on the other side of the highway, off of West Pettigrew, next to the existing Cedar Hill Cemetery, also associated originally with Erwin Mills. The cemetery is well taken care of. 


Many of the graves moved to New Bethel Memorial Gardens were of people who made great contributions to the neighborhood. Rebecca Anne Lyon, buried here,  held church meetings out of her home that were the origins of the New Bethel Baptist Church, which served as an anchor in the neighborhood during the 147 upheaval. Another early Hickstown (and Brookstown) contributor buried here is the Reverand Moses Hester, renowned preacher with a congregation made up of both blacks and whites.  

The cemetery is still in use. 


(All photos taken by Karen Sieber on 08.01.13). 

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