Holman Family Cemetery

Durham, Durham, North Carolina, United States

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Description

Also known as Mill Grove, Holman Slave Cemetery, In a wooded area nestled against the edges of the Horton Hills and Argonne Hills subdivisions, this untended burial ground appears to be linked to the family of Dilsy Holman and her descendants. Likely born enslaved in the 1820s, she and her offspring first appear by name in the post-Emancipation censuses of 1870 and 1880. A deed from 1878 indicates she purchased 88 acres of land here near the Eno River from James Pool. Some key details of the family history remain to be established - particularly whether Dilsy was connected to Holmans (sometimes rendered Holeman) who were formerly enslaved at Stagville or further north in Person County. Her children married members of several other families who had settled in the area just south of the Eno River between Mill Grove and Guess Road: Craig, Green, Hopkins, and McCown. Only two legible markers were visible in the cemetery during an August 2021 survey, but a discernible pattern of grave depressions - many of them clearly marked with fieldstones - suggests fifty or more individuals may have been buried here Durham County only began collecting death certificates in 1909, so any burials in the preceding decades would have gone undocumented. However, suggest that this may have been a burial ground for a larger community. Indeed, Dilsy Holman transferred a small parcel near this edge of her property to the Mill Grove Church in 1886, and subsequent deeds seem to refer to this as the Mill Grove Cemetery lot. That name is generally associated with a congregation and school just to the south and east near the present-day intersection of Roxboro and Denfield, but it is plausible that the toponym previously extended this far (in the direction of the nearby mill).
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Holman Family Cemetery, Created by Billiongraver, Durham, Durham, North Carolina, United States