STEELE CREEK NEWS
Need Help Locating Owners of an Abandoned Cemetery
2011) Luther Wallace's
grave stone says was born in 1842 and died in 1917. According to
the1910 census he was a Black farmer who couldn't read or write.
Little more is known about this man who was buried in a small,
overgrown cemetery on Rainbarrel Road near Long Cove Marina and Lake
Wylie. His is one of only a few grave stones that are still legible,
and even less is known about the other people who lived in the area
until they went to their final resting place in this small, rural
Ted Driggs and other area
residents hope to
get permission to clean and fence off this area. Their problem is
that they don't know who owns the cemetery and who to ask for
permission. According to Mecklenburg County property records, the
owner is The Anderson Chapel (Trustees), but there is no address,
and apparently no organization called Anderson Chapel within 200
miles of Charlotte.
to area historian Linda Blackwelder, there was at one time a
small African American AME church called the Ramah Church
located near the cemetery. The church likely moved when Duke
Power purchased all of the property surrounding what was to
become Lake Wylie in the 1920s. Since there were no African
American churches in the neighborhood before the Civil War, it
probably came into existence by about 1870 and would have been
there until the property was purchased by the power company. The
early burials might have had some slaves among them, but the
later burials between about 1880 and 1920 would mostly have been
children of slaves.
time gone by where there was a little church near a river
(Catawba) which turned into a lake (Wylie). See in your
Carolina hot and
humid Sunday afternoon after a service has been held there.
Hear the voices of those breaking bread and rejoicing of
freedom and the pursuit of happiness because all men are
created equal. Watch the children play in the sunshine!
A single, leaning grave is
visible near the center of the photograph below.
Driggs and his neighbors need
help in locating the owners.
Driggs wants to "request and
receive permission from the current landowners to clean up and
preserve the site in the most respectfully possible way. For
regardless if these were of slave descent, black, white, yellow,
red, Kings or Queens; they are human beings that once breathed the
same atmosphere that you and I breathe today. They did not ask to
die but they did. It is our task to preserve the memory of humankind
for this was and is the essence of our existence on Planet Earth.
"These people, be they slave
or not, deserve some sort of protection of antiquity. We only want
to let these people who have passed rest in peace. They deserve
that…we owe it to them."
For a report by WCNC News, see
Neighbors hope to clean historic cemetery.
If you have any knowledge of
the possible owners of this property or would like to help, please
contact Ted Driggs
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