Many more people likely buried in Dixonville than records indicate

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 17, 2011

By Mark Wineka
SALISBURY ó Betty Dan Nicholas Spencer, a tireless historian and task force member, says 477 people were buried in the Dixonville Cemetery from 1910 until urban renewal came in the 1960s.
She knows this from death certificates at the county Register of Deeds office and records available from funeral homes.
Those are the burials on record, ěbut I would say there are several thousand people buried there,î Spencer says.
She believes the main burying years in the 2-acre tract were from 1874, when it became a city-owned ěcolored cemetery,î until 1910.
The earliest documented burial is 1851. City workers uncovered Mary Valentineís tombstone ó according to the marker, she died Oct. 14, 1851 ó when they were making some repairs in the cemetery in 2007. It was fixed and reset.
According to Spencerís book, ěRemembering Dixonville and East End,î Joseph Horah owned the land that would become both the Salisbury National Cemetery and Dixonville Cemetery.
Horah allowed the Confederate government to use his cornfield to bury Union prisoners who died at the Salisbury Confederate Prison during the Civil War. Itís likely, according to Spencer, that he also permitted African-Americans to be buried on his property before the city purchased the acreage in 1874 and continued burials.
Mary Valentineís tombstone only reinforces that theory.
One of the more famous people buried in Dixonville Cemetery is Bishop John Jamison Moore, who founded the AME Zion Church in western North Carolina.
Mooreís Chapel AME Zion Church is named for him.
The Mary Valentine tombstone raises the question as to whether all the other Valentines were buried in Dixonville, including William Valentine, one of the most influential African-Americans in Salisbury during the Civil War era and afterward.
Spencer also notes that John ěJackî Mowery, who owned one of the existing buildings in the 100 block of East Fisher Street, is buried in Dixonville.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263.