Civil War Stories Lie Buried in North Carolina Church Cemetery

Post a Comment » Written on November 16th, 2009     
Filed under: News
SUMMERFIELD, NC (November 16, 2009) – Wayne Barham, a 70-year-old U.S. Navy veteran, wants others to know that within the Mount Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church cemetery are stories to be preserved beyond the words and numbers on the headstones.

He has been especially interested in sharing the stories of the men who died in wars,  including members of the Confederate Army and their families. Barham said he has been researching church history and got interested in the people buried in the cemetery. As he learned more about the Confederate soldiers there, he thought it would be good to share the information with other parishioners and the public.

“This is a part of Mount Bethel’s rich history,” Barham told the Greensboro News-Record. “It is important because, in years to come, a lot of this could be lost.” He hopes to publish a Mount Bethel history in the near future.

There are, for example, the twins who died of pneumonia in camp. They were among the first Confederate soldiers to be buried in the cemetery with two rocks near a large oak tree marking the location of their graves.

North Carolina was the last state to secede from the union on May 20, 1861. Of the 125,000 men serving in the Confederacy, more than 40,000 of them did not return home, Barham said.

Some of the soldiers buried in the cemetery were among the 85 men who marched to war following a Saturday afternoon rally in the town. Barham also has tracked down the sites where other Civil War dead from the church are laid to rest, such as Yancey Cummings, buried in an unmarked grave at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.

Twenty-seven flags fly over the graves of military veterans buried in the cemetery. The flags represent men who have died in wars since the church was founded on April 18, 1857. Besides the Civil War, church members buried at the cemetery include casualties of World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.

Flagpoles at one end of the cemetery eventually will display all of the flags that have flown over the state and above the state or national capitols. These flags, flown only on holidays and at special events, are the 13-star Betsy Ross flag, the 50-star United States flag, the old North Carolina flag carried by the state’s Confederate soldiers, the present North Carolina flag and the seven-star Confederate First National flag.

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