Homes of the Dearly Departed
Olde Burial Ground
Beaufort, North Carolina
The Old Burial Ground is nestled in the
heart of the Historic District of Beaufort, North Carolina. It adjoins three churches: The Ann Street Methodist
Church, First Baptist Church, and the AME Zion Church.
The cemetery was deeded to the town of Beaufort in
1731. The oldest legible date on a grave marker is 1756, however, many of the grave sites are much older. Many earlier
graves are simply covered with cypress slabs, shells, or brick. Stone was too difficult to obtain in the early seventeen hundreds. Characteristic of this period
are the vaulted graves bricked over to protect them from water and wild animals.
Beaufort, NC was settled in 1709 and
is North Carolina's third oldest town. It began as a fishing village and an important Atlantic seaport and was named
after Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort. The town was surveyed in 1713 and was incorporated in 1723 as has been
the seat of Carteret County since that time.
Street names relect the early development
of the Town; Ann Street for Queen Anne, Craven Street for the Earl of Craven, Moore Street for Colonel Maurice Moore
of South Carolina who gave help in the Indian Wars, Queen Street again for Queen Anne, Pollock Street for the then governor
of North Carolina, Turner Street for the landowner that owned much of the surveyed town property and Orange Street for
William, Prince of Orange who became William III.
The Olde Burial Ground is filled with ancient live oak trees, colorful azaleas,
wondering wisteria and other lush greenery and vines. But it's the weathered tombstones that chronicle the early
ancestory of Eastern North Carolina. As early as the eighteenth century, coastal residents were laid to their final
rest, many facing east - "to be facing the sun when they arose on judgment morn." Otway Burns is among those residents.
Otway Burns was born at Queen's Creek, near Swansboro, North Carolina, in 1775. During the War of 1812
he acquired letters of marque for the privateer Snap Dragon and commanded the fast little schooner on three cruises,
having several encounters with British men-of-war, also taking numerous prizes.
After the war he engaged in shipbuilding at Beaufort,
North Carolina, and spent 13 years in the General Assembly of North Carolina. In 1835 President Andrew Jackson appointed him
keeper of the Brant Island Shoal Light, a position he held until his death. Two destroyers have been named USS Burns
in his honor.
He died on Portsmouth Island and was brought to this
site by boat. His tomb is covered with a gun taken from his ship, the Snap Dragon.
Other Homes of The Dearly Departed
The Circular Congregational Church Graveyard