Barbee, Gray

Date of birth
Place of birth
Orange County, NC
Date of death
Place of death
Durham, NC
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The Durham Land and Security company bought land from farmer Gray Barbee in 1886 that would then be subdivided into plots for homes and businesses in East Durham. By 1887, the  Durham City Directory lists Barbee's profession not as farmer, but as "Real Estate Dealer-Cotton Mill" .   From the looks of a list of land holdings in the 1887 CD, Barbee still held on to 2 substantial pieces of land. 

barbee land.png

Barbee also sold Carr United Methodist Church the 3/4 acre land for their first church, for $300.This lot was located directly across the railroad from the mill on the southeast corner of Clay and Peabody Streets. The cornerstone of the church was laid on August 26, 1886.

Barbee was married twice and had 8 children. Someone in the family has done an excellent family tree that dates from the 1600's to present(choose the ancestors or descendants tabs to flip between the two)

Family Tree (click here)

Sadly, he died in 1888 and didn't get to spend the gobs of money he surely must've made off of all of that land. He is buried at a family cemetery on the 400 block of Salem Street, which is now an overgrown lot. The original owner of  the land being buried in what is now an abandoned lot is just. too. much. to. take.  I'm sure that was not in his vision for his land.  



Actually he is buried in an abandoned and neglected grave yard located at 825 Ellis rd. I was looking at the house which is on 4 acres across from the cement place, gutted, in terrible shape yet selling for over $200k when I noticed the graves. It's quite fascinating considering the dates. I reached down to clear off a tombstone to read it and I got dizzy and really ill so I got the heck out of there. Wouldn't be surprised if the place was haunted. All the tombstones are from the 1800's to early 1900's

In reply to by Jacki B (not verified)

Jackie B. The cemetery that you are speaking of at 825 Ellis Road is in need of cleaning and better access. I am the granddaughter of the original owner Charles Wesley Barbee ,of the home that is on the land. I grew up spending much of my time with my Grandparents. The land was originally Granted to the Barbee family from the King of England. My Grandfather and our family are very proud of this. Unfortunately when my Uncle George William Barbee died a few years ago, his daughters forced my mother and her sister to sell the home place. If you think that it is sad to you, you should have to live through it. My Grandfather Charlie as he I was known, proudly cared for the "Cemetary". When he passed away in the late 70's my two uncles maintained the land until Bill died. When the estate was sold there were barriers placed and it was difficult to get to the Cemetary. Also my mother and aunt were in their mid to late 80s. Last spring we hired some one to clean out the Cemetary and spent $700.00. It grows up very fast and needs it again. With the barriers up it is hard to get to . We would welcome any family close and distant to come and we can have a work day at rhe Cemetary. We would also like to enclose it in some way when possible. Please respond to me if you have any interest in learning more and helping in any way. (mother Helen Barbee Higgins) Bridgett Higgins Ray

Ps I wonder why none of his family is maintaining their family graves... there are over 25 tombstones in there. Such a shame. I googled his name and came to the article....was curious to know who he was. Power of the internet!!

In reply to by Jacki B (not verified)

I am one of Gray Barbee's great great granddaughters, and no one ever told us that any of our family members were buried there. I had only been able to find the graves of his son, my great grandfather, who is buried in the old section of Maplewood cemetery. Now that we are aware of these graves, we are planning on visiting when we are able. We live out of state. It is wonderful to have found the location and the photos, which I found online, of the tombstones, so it will be nice to finally pay our respects to people about whom we have known very little who were born almost 200 years ago in 1815. Thank you for more information, as I have photos of the graves from Salem Street, but now will look into the other site, as well, to see exactly what is going on and why there seems to be a discrepancy.

Glad to be of assistance. I must tell you that the graveyard is on the lot of the above mentioned house that is for sale....or was for sale, not sure what's going on with it now as it appears to have been taken off the market. You might want to touch bases with the owner before going there as the driveway is blocked off and your visit might be considered trespassing. you can check Durham county's website along with google for the current owners information. I tried to send the link to make it easiwer on you and I got flagged as being a spammer so I won't try that again.

There are a lot of children buried there and I found the tombstones to be quite interesting. You can tell by looking at them, they were for people who had money because some of them are quite elaborate. I don't plan on going there again though, given my last experience LOL.

Good luck!

I have a grandfather buried in the cemetery at 825 Ellis Rd. If the other family members wish to have a clean-up day for the cemetery, count me in. Anyone who may wish to see how the cemetery looked with the brush cleared away, go visit cemetery census and look for John and Sally Barbee Cemetery. I cleared the whole cemetery about 20 years ago and then recorded the tombstones. I submitted the photos to Cemetery Census. Findagrave also has this info.

In reply to by Lonnie Lorbacher (not verified)

Corrections to my first comment post. I had cleaned the cemetery around 2004, not 20 years ago as posted earlier. The photos taken can be seen on Cemetery Census under the John and Sallie family cemetery. I had misspelled the name sallie in the previous post.
My relation to the barbee is thru my Grandmother Lenora Francis Barbee who is a sister of Charles Wesley Barbee Sr The Gray Barbee buried there is father of Charles and Lenora. John and Sallie are the parents of Gray. Hope this clears up some info.

One last comment to perhaps clear up what has been posted here. The Gray Barbee at 825 Ellis road is the Sidney Gray "little gray" Barbee who is the son of John and Sallie Barbee also buried there. John Barbee is the brother of the Gray Barbee associated withe the Salem St. cemetery.

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