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Historical Presentation on Stonecutters at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church Cemetery

Dan Patterson(March 3, 2013) Professor Dan Patterson will give a presentation on Sunday, April 7 at 2:00 PM at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church on the craft of gravestone carvings as practiced by the extended Bingham family and especially on those stones that still exist in the graveyard at the Church. After his talk, Dr. Patterson will lead a walk through the graveyard to view the Bingham stones there.

Newcomers to Steele Creek will enjoy hearing about how things used to be in the community when it was first settled in the 1700s and also enjoy the art of the stone carvers of the past.

Dr. Patterson is an expert on early folkways of the North Carolina backcountry with a specialty in the early tombstone carvers of Mecklenburg and surrounding Counties. Dr. Patterson's presentation will focus on his new book The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry.

Daniel W. Patterson is Kenan Professor Emeritus of English and Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A lifelong student of early North Carolina life and folklore, he is the author or editor of nine books. His most recent book, The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry, tells the story of the Bingham family of stonecutters in Pennsylvania and North Carolina from 1730 well into the 19th century. In it he gives a comprehensive history of the stone carvers and their work, illustrated with photographs of over 200 stones that were taken by Dr. Patterson over many years – it sometimes took hours to photograph one stone, getting the light just right to be able to read the inscription and see the intricate carvings. Many of the stones he studied can be seen today in various Mecklenburg County cemeteries.

Whiteside Tombstone  

But this book does much more than that. In describing these early settlers and their craft he tells a story of life in early Mecklenburg that goes beyond the names and dates to paint a picture in great detail of how life was lived. In doing so he brings these characters to life for us in a well-rounded context.

The April 7 presentation will be at Old Steele Creek Presbyterian Church, 7407 Steele Creek Road, and is sponsored by the Steele Creek Historical and Genealogical Society and the Mecklenburg Historical Association (MHA).

Additionally, on Monday evening, March 25, Dr. Patterson will address the dinner meeting of the MHA. His presentation will focus on life in old Mecklenburg as lived by the early Scotch Irish settlers such as the Bingham family. The public is invited to enjoy dinner with the MHA or attend only Dr. Patterson’s presentation at no charge. See details on Page 5 of the MHA Newsletter,

                                                                                  Printed with permission of Jim Williams.

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