Report of Known Burials and Suspected Burials at the Theophilus Hunter Cemetery in Raleigh, NC
By Belle Long
HUNTER BURIAL DOCUMENTATION
The best-known burial at Spring Hill’s Hunter family cemetery is that of Theophilus Hunter, Sr. who died between April (when his will was written) and December (when his will was probated in the Wake County Court of Pleas and Quarter Sessions) in 1798. His is the only marked grave at the site.
Since the last Hunter owner of Spring Hill, Emma Eugenia Hunter, died in 1863 without a will, the Equity Court in the name of Robert Lewis sold the property at auction to William High on 14 July, 1864 (Wake County Deed Book 24 page 411).
Therefore, burials would have taken place at least as early as 1798 (and possibly earlier) and as late as 1864. We have compared the lists of those buried at Oakwood Cemetery, City Cemetery, and Raleigh National Cemetery and on Find-a-Grave.com at Oakwood Cemetery in Louisburg with the members of the family tree. Family members interred at either of those four cemeteries are not listed as possible burials at Spring Hill. Therefore, this report has three parts:
This research has striven to locate the death dates and locations of all known Theophilus Hunter descendants and their spouses who died by 1864 in the Raleigh or Wake County area and who therefore are likely to be buried at the Hunter family cemetery at Spring Hill. Primary source documents, those written at the time these people were living, are used almost exclusively. They are considered by historians and genealogists to be far more reliable than secondary sources.
As research continues and more facts are discovered, names may be switched from one list to the other.
We have been able to fully document two burials at Spring Hill in addition to that of Theophilus Hunter, Sr. Another three individuals died at Spring Hill and are therefore very likely to be buried there.
The two documented and unmarked graves at Hunter Cemetery at Spring Hill on NCSU’s campus:
Below are minutes of the Masonic Lodge describing the funeral and burial of William H. Hunter from Minute Book of Hiram 40, 1826-1845 (not paginated):
Transcript of minutes of the funeral of William H. Hunter from the Minute Book of Hiram 40, 1826-1845:
Tuesday, Nov. 10, , AL 5829
The Lodge convened this morning at the call of the Master.
The craft was called to Labor and a Master Masons Lodge opened.
The worshipful master informed the Brethren that they were
called together for the purpose of paying the last respects to
the remains of our worthy and respected Brother Wm. H. Hunter,
late master of the lodge.
The usual ceremony being performed in the Lodge,
a procession was formed and marched to the late residence
of Bro. Hunter from thence the body was taken, accompanied
by the brethren, to the Methodist church, where a funeral
sermon was delivered by R.W. & Rev’d Thomas P. Hunt, after
which a procession was formed and moved to the residence
of our Brother Theophilus Hunter, and in the family
Burial ground resigned to its (mother?) dust the mortal
remains of our Brother, with the accustomed ceremonies
and solemnities. The craft then retired into the house of Bro Theos.
Hunter, and were called from labor to refreshments
until Wednesday evening.
J G Thomas, Secy
Obituary from the Raleigh Register of 12 Nov 1829 P 3 for William H. Hunter, whose remains were “carried to the family burying ground, and interred with masonic honors.”
Below: Minutes of the Hiram 40 Masonic Lodge from 18 Nov 1840 – Monday evening special meeting concerning Theophilus Hunter, Jr.’s death from Minute Book of Hiram 40, 1826-1845 (not paginated):
Transcript of minutes from Hiram 40 Masonic Lodge:
The craft were called from refreshment to labor
in due form, this lodge having been assembl’d
for the purpose, agreeably to his last request, of paying
the last sad offices to our worthy & lamented brother Captn.
Theophilus Hunter, who departed this life on
Wednesday 17th Inst., A procession was accordingly
form’d, when the Brethren repair’d to his
late residence where he was interr’d with
masonic honors. On motion of Bro. Cl…D.
Hutchins – Resolv’d, That the members
of this Lodge wear Crape on the left arm
for the term of 30 days as a badge of mourning, and
token of respect for the memory of their deceas’d
brother. No further matters being introduc’d
for the good of Masonry, this Lodge clos’d after
the ancient rites.
WA Harrison, WM
R L Messuresr (?), Sec
Theophilus Hunter, Jr. obituary from the Raleigh Weekly Standard, 25 Nov. 1840:
Beginning of the record of Theophilus Hunter Jr.’s will in Wake County Record Book 24 p 427 written on 21 May 1839 in which he requests to be buried “in my burying ground”:
Transcript of Beginning of Will of Theophilus Hunter, Jr., 21 May 1839
I, Theophilus Hunter of the County of Wake in the State of North
Carolina do make and publish this my last Will and Testament
hereby revoking and making void all former Wills by me
at [any] time heretofore made, I direct that my body be decently interred in my
burying ground and that my funeral be conducted in a manner corresponding
with my estate and situation in life.
The three people who are very likely buried at Spring Hill because they died there:
The Rev. Johnson had moved to Raleigh from Virginia to be pastor at Edenton Street and had no other known family in Raleigh.
He wrote his will on 22 Mar 1841, which is recorded in Wake County Record Book 24 p. 527. He stated that he was in poor health and requested that his “body be decently interred in such place as my wife may desire.” It was not customary nor was it practical at this time to move a body to another state for burial, so it is a very likely conclusion that he was buried at Spring Hill where he died.
Transcript of the portion of William S. Johnson’s will:
In the name of God Almighty, I William S. Johnson of the City of Raleigh
being in a very weak and low state of health and conscious of the
uncertainty of life, but in a sound and disposing mind and memory
do make publish and declare this as my last will & Testament hereby
revoking all former wills by me at any time heretofore made. And first
I direct that my body be decently interred in such place as my wife may
desire according to the rites and ceremonies of the Methodist Episcopal
Church. And as to such wordly goods as it has pleased God to entrust…
Other information about Johnson comes from page 76 of Early Methodist Meeting Houses by C. Franklin Grill:
From the Raleigh Times, 23 Oct 1925 “Spring Hill Now Center State Epileptic Colony,” by Susan Iden:
Obituary of John Haywood Hunter from NC Star of 10 Nov 1826:
The remaining names on the list of those possibly buried at Spring Hill are less well documented as to their place of burial, but they fit the criteria laid out above: They are direct descendants or spouses of descendants of Theophilus Hunter, Sr., are not listed as buried at Oakwood or City or Raleigh National Cemeteries, and they died in Raleigh by 1864.
The record of Joel Williams’s will (Jane’s first husband) was probated in Johnston County in Jan. 1761 which means he had died by that date. See below, Joel Williams’s will probated in January Court 1761:
The first date we know that Jane Smith Williams and Theophilus Hunter, Sr. were married is on the deed below dated 27 Mar 1765 from Johnston County Deed Bk Tr-1 p 338.
Another deed (below) indicates that Jane Hunter was formerly Jane Williams, married to Joel Williams. Apparently, Joel Williams’s will was not clear in indicating that Joel wanted his wife Jane Williams to have his land and plantation in fee simple, not just for her life. Joel’s son Isaac in this deed sold to his mother, now Jane Hunter, and her husband, Theophilus Hunter [Sr.], the land in fee simple. This deed is from Johnston County Deed Book X-1 p 185, dated 5 May 1797, below.
Theophilus Sr.’s will names his wife, Jane, so we know she died after his will was written in April 1798. We have been unable to find a record of her date of death.
Transcript of excerpt from Theophilus Hunter, Sr.’s will:
In the name of God Amen! I Theophilus Hunter of the County of Wake
and State of North Carolina, being of sound and perfect mind and memory
and calling to mind the mortality of my body and knowing it is appointed for
all Men to die do make order and publish this, to be my last Will and
Testament, hereby revoking and making void all Wills by me heretofore made
First, I give and recommend my soul to God my Creator, my body to be decently
buried at the direction of my Executors, and as to the wordly Estate it hath
pleased God to bless me with, after my just debts are paid, I give, devise and
dispose of it in manner and form following, that is to say,
Imprimis. I give and bequeath to my beloved wife Jane one negroe wench…
Below is from Wake County Record Book 4 p 258. It states that Theophilus, Hunter Sr.’s will was probated in Dec 1798, so he died before that date.
Transcript of Probate record of Theophilus Hunter, Sr.’s will:
Wake County December Sessions 1798
The within last Will and Testament
was duly proved in open Court by the Oaths of Solo-
mon P Goorich Esquire and Sterling Wheaton Sub-
scribing Witnesses there to, and ordered to be Recorded.
Nath. Lane C[lerk] C[ourt]
Secondary source: Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, ed. by William S. Powell, “Theophilus Hunter” by Mary Hinton Duke Kerr and Mary Bates Sherwood, 1988
Henry (Harry) was a member of the Masonic Lodge Hiram No. 40. Below are the minutes of the gathering of the Masons for his funeral:
Transcript of Masonic meeting minutes for Harry Hunter’s funeral:
At a called meeting of Hiram Lodge No. 40
officers and members – with some visiting bre-
thren – covened at Brother Harry Hunters
Dec’d. to pay the last masonic honors to
him as their brother. By special request
The Lodge was formed – on 25th
July 1810 AD – 5810 AL – Brother Henry
Potter presided Pro Tem. After the usual
Funeral Ceremonies at the hous[e] and pro-
cession to the grave – And Ceremonies There
Having been gone through – the Lodge returned
to the Room whence it had proceeded
and was there closed in harmony & Peace.
Danl Barringer, Secty.
Excerpt from Theophilus Hunter, Sr. will providing 10 dollars for his daughter Irene:
Excerpts from the record of Theophilus Hunter, Sr.’s will in Record Book 4 pp 258-263 providing for the children of Irene Lane, his grandchildren:
Transcript of excerpt from Theophilus Hunter, Sr.’s will pertaining to the support of Irene Lane, and her children, his grandchildren:
…Item. I give and bequeath
to my Grand Children by my Daughter Irene
as followeth (to wit) to my Grandson Alfred Lane
three Hundred and fifty Acres of Land being
the upper part of a Tract of Land seven hundred
seven hundred [sic] acres purchased by me of
James Lane lying on Crabtree Creek. Also
to my Grand Daughter Patsey Lane and
Jane Lane I give and bequeath the lower part
of the same Tract of Land to be equally divided
between them, also I give to my Grandson Alfred
Lane three Negroes (to wit) Celey, Cate, and Winny
to my Grand daughter Patsey Lane I give and
bequeath Sylvia, Beckey and Dilla and to my
Grand Daughter Jane Lane I give and bequeath
Rose, Nanny and Violet to them and their Heirs
but the Land and Negroes hereby given to the
three Grand Children, Alfred Lane, Patsey Lane
and Jane Lane shall be in the keeping and
at the disposal of my Executors until my
said Grand Children shall severally come
to lawful age, and shall then be delivered over
to them by my Executors; who shall in no wise
be considered accountable either for the Rents or
for the hire of the same. Item I lend to my
Executors to be employed by them in better sup
porting my daughter Irene during her life
five Negroes viz Davey, Ben, Peg, Judy, and
Sally; which Negroes with their increase, shall
after her death be equally divided between my
Grand Children Alfred Lane, Patsey Lane, and
Finally Irene was mentioned a third time in Theophilus Hunter, Sr.’s will. He directed his executors to use five Negroes to better support her during her life, enslaved people who would then revert to her children after her death:
Transcript of excerpt from will of Theophious Hunter, Sr.:
Item. I lend to my Executors to be employed by them in better supporting my
Daughter Irene during her life five Negroes, Vgl [Vergil], Davy, Ben, Reg, Judy
and Sally which Negroes with their increase shall, after her death, be
equally divided between my Grand Children Alfred Lnae, Patsye Lane
and Jane Lane.
The language in the will implies that Irene’s husband, James Lane, predeceased her. Two James Lanes died before Irene: one in 1805 and one in 1807. Note: The Sr. suffix attached to the first James merely indicates that he was the elder of two James Lanes living at the time, not that they were father and son as we use the term today.
Death of James Lane, Sr., from the Raleigh Register of 14 Jan 1805:
The other James Lane‘s death was reported in the Raleigh Minerva on 17 Oct., 1807.
Death of Irene Lane on 23 July 1818 from the Raleigh Minerva stating that she was the “relict” or widow of James Lane, Esq.:
There is no record of where Irene Hunter Lane or her husband, James Lane, was buried. It is possible that she was buried in her family’s burying ground.
The marriage bond dated 6 June 1773 between Delilah Hunter and James Hinton:
Transcript of Marriage Bond between Delilah Hunter and James Hinton:
Wake County Know all men by these
Presents that we James
Hinton and John Pasteur are held and
firmly bound and held to our Sovereign Lord the
King his heirs and Successors the Penal
Sum of fifty Pounds Proc. Money to which
payment to be well and truly made to our
said Sovereign Lord the King We bend our order
and each of us our & each of our Heirs Extrs
& Ads Jointly Severally and Firmly by There [sic]
Presents Sealed with our Seals and Dated this
Twenty Sixth day of June 1773.
The Condition of the above Obligation is such
that whereas the above bounden James Hinton
hath this day applyed [sic] for & obtained a License
to be joined with Delilah Hunter in the
Estate of Matrimony. Now if therefore there be
No Lawful Cause to obstruct the said marriage
for which the said License was obtained then the
above Obligation to be Void or Elce [sic]To remain in
full force and Virtue
Signed & delivered in presence of James Hinton Seal
John Rice John Pasteur Seal
Excerpt from Theophilus Hunter, Sr. will concerning Delilah:
Transcript of portion of Theophilus Hunter Sr.’s will:
Item. I give and bequeath to my Grand Children by my eldest Daughter Delilah,
formerly the Wife of James Hinton deceased, One Hundred pounds Currency to be
equally divided among the five oldest of them, to wit, Polly, Temperance, Henry,
Theophilus and Ransom likewise I give to James, the youngest Child fifty pounds
Obit of Martha Green Hunter who died on 27 Nov. 1828 from North Carolina Star of 4 Dec. 1828:
Emma Hunter’s Obituary from the Weekly Standard of 15 Jul 1863:
Emma died without a will, so the Equity Court in the name of Robert Lewis, sold the property Spring Hill at an auction on 7 July 1864. William High was the top bidder. The deed was recorded in Wake County Deed Book 24, p. 411.
We know that Emma was the last Hunter owner from a deed dated 14 Dec. 1863 in which her cousin’s daughter, Mary Hunter (daughter of William H. Hunter and granddaughter of Theophilus Hunter, Jr. who married Edward I. Mallett), sold her rights to the property in Wake County Deed Book. 24 p 290. The deed reads “land…known as the Spring Hill or Hunter lands, the property of the late E. E. Hunter.” See deed excerpt below:
Jane Hunter’s first marriage to William S. Johnson in 1839 from Weekly Standard of 16 Oct 1839:
Jane Hunter’s second marriage to Samuel H. Young took place in 1849, from the Raleigh Register of 25 Aug 1849:
The death of Jane S. Hunter appeared in the Weekly Standard on 13 July 1859:
A longer obituary of Jane S. Hunter appeared in the Raleigh Christian Advocate on 14 July 1859:
Since Jane S. Hunter’s second husband, Samuel H. Young, died long after she did, in May of 1882, she is likely buried at Spring Hill. His burial place is unknown. Samuel H. Young’s obit appeared in the Farmer and Mechanic 10 May 1882:
Here’s the record of Sarah J. Hunter and Robert Mcauley’s marriage in 1821 from the Raleigh Register:
Here’s the record of Sarah J. Hunter’s husband, Robert McCauley’s death in 1829 from the Raleigh Register:
This is from the U. S. census record of Wake County of 1850 showing Sarah McCauley enumerated in Raleigh at the home of her sister, Adelaide Hunter Hill:
Sarah J. Hunter’s will was proved in Wake County in May 1859, so she died in Wake. Here is the record of the recording of her will:
The US Mortality Census for 1860 shows her death in July 1859 of consumption that she had suffered for 5 years. Here’s the heading for the page in the Mortality Census:
Here’s the entry for Jane S. (Hunter) Young:
Here is her marriage from the Raleigh Register of 24 July 1818.
Mary Green Hunter’s obit from the Raleigh Register of 21 Sept 1827 is below:
Thomas G. Scott’s obit from the Raleigh Register of 17 Feb 1846 is below:
The obit of Thomas G. Scott (Jr.) from the Democratic Press of 15 Oct 1859 is below:
Listing at Raleigh National Cemetery for the other (African American) Thomas Scott:
His obit from the Standard of 8 June 1859 is below:
Rosa Hill was 14 in the 1860 Census:
Rosa Hill is missing from the 1870 U S Census of her father’s household:
Martha G. Hunter’s marriage to Moses A. Bledsoe in the Raleigh Register of 30 Sep 1845 is below:
Martha G. Hunter Bledsoe’s obituary in the Standard of 24 Mar 1858 is below:
Partial obit of Martha G. Hunter’s husband, Moses A. Bledsoe, who died in 1905 from the Farmer and Mechanic of 7 Nov 1905:
What became of Charles H. Hunter remains a mystery.
1860 census in Marianne, Florida of Joseph T. Hunter’s wife, Caroline Bell, and her family did not include Charles H. Hunter:
He is listed as age 7 in the 1850 US Census:
William Johnson Hall was 17 in the 1860 U S Census:
He disappeared from the records after 1860.
27-?. Unknown number of infants and children who did not survive to adulthood and who do not appear in any records.
FAMILY MEMBERS WHO WERE MOST LIKELY
NOT BURIED AT SPRING HILL
FAMILY MEMBERS WHO WERE BURIED AT OTHER CEMETERIES
By Belle Long, with extensive contributions from and thanks to Josh Price, Thomas Hunter, Betsy Hunter Amos, and Rich Hunter.
Other help came from Saundra Cropps at Olivia Raney Local History Library, Ernest Dollar at The City of Raleigh Museum, Ainsley Powell in Raleigh City Historic Sites, the archivists at NC State Archives, the librarians at the State Government and History Library, Ramona Bartos, Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer, Lindsay Ferrante, Deputy State Archaeologist, Renee Gledhill-Early at NCDCR, Claudia Brown, retired from the State Historic Preservation Office, Robin Simonton at Oakwood Cemetery and John Ward.
Sources: Wake and Johnston County Deed, Record, Inventory, Wills, and Guardianship Records and Marriage Bonds; Franklin County Marriage Bonds; Newspapers.com; Find=A-Grave.com; Elizabeth Reid Murray and Elizabeth Norris papers at Olivia Raney Local History Library; Raleigh National, City, and Oakwood Cemetery Burial databases; U S Census and Mortality Records from Ancestry.com; genealogical vertical files at N C State Archives; Hiram Masonic Lodge #40 Minute Books; Early Methodist Meeting Houses by C. Franklin Grill; Church historian at Edenton Street Methodist Church; Christ Episcopal Church Registers ed. by Charlie C. Blunt.