Cemetery for Poor Becomes Trash Dump Near Rest Home
Transcribed and Submitted by Natasha Miles
July 2009
Columbus County, NC
Cemetery for Poor Becomes Trash Dump Near Rest Home
Whiteville News Reporter
26 July 1962

A few hundred yards out back of the Cowan Rest Home on the Chadbourn road is a cemetery where, best information reveals, some 50 bodies Negro and white, rest.
To the passing observer, there is nothing to indicate the area as a final resting place for so many people, for trees and crepe myrtle bushes have taken over to obscure any resemblance of a burying-ground.
Only one marker, a small piece of granite bearing two initials and a name, is there to tell who and when the person was put to rest for eternity.
The area is visited often but not by people who are interested in the cemtery. The visitors are residents from other sections who bring their trash and garbage there to dump as food and a habitat for rodents and reptiles.
Who are these people whose final resting place has been left for thoughtless persons to convert to a trash dump? Did they die with no kin interested enough to care for their graves?
An investigation reveals that most of them died while they were inmates of the County Home which became the Cowan Rest Home some 12 years ago.
They were buried in simple pine boxes padded inside and covered with grey. No bodies were embalmed and the graves, if marked at all, bore only a temporary tag. Nothing is there to tell whose grave is where and undergrowth is so profuse that depressions indicating graves are non-existent.
The cemetery as would be anticipated is on county-owned land. Accordingly, it is assumed that responsible county authorities are not aware of the trash-dumping incidents and possibly also are not aware that the graveyard has been left to grow up into a wilderness.

Photo caption: Trash and garbage litter graveyard of poor who died in County Home years ago to be buried and forgotten in unmarked graves. Trees and bushes mark the site while thoughtless people add insult to neglect with piles on piles of home and yard debris.

Photo caption: Lone granite marker with initials and name rests beside eight-inch pine in cemetery for poor on county property near Cowan Rest Home. Some 50 bodies were put to rest there but years of neglect have robbed the burying-ground of care and attention their final resting place deserves.

[Note from contributor: This article was found in the News Reporter microfilm at the Columbus County Library in Whiteville. The photos on the microfilm are too dark to make out the images.]