Old Chapel Hill Cemetery

Old Chapel Hill Cemetery, located at the corner of South and Country Club Roads, is as old as UNC itself. The first recorded burial was a white student, George Clarke of Bertie County, who died unexpectedly in 1798. He was buried in the woods at the top of a knoll that was then well east of campus and town. The earliest known African American person buried there was Ellington Burnett in 1853. A low rock wall near the center of the cemetery historically separated the graves of black and white persons. For many years it was known as the College Graveyard or Village Cemetery, and both university and town cared for it. Now officially owned by the town, the cemetery is on the National Register of Historic Places as a burial site of formerly enslaved people and of noteworthy faculty and university leaders. In 2004 the Black Student Movement erected a plaque on South Road to honor those buried in the African American section. In 2005 Carolina officials dedicated Memorial Grove, a space for the scattering and interment of ashes. Perhaps the best-known epitaph in the cemetery belongs to Jane Tenney Gilbert: "I was a Tar Heel born and a Tar Heel bred / and here I lie a Tar Heel dead. / BORN JAN. 1896 AND STILL HERE 1980."