Finding My Way Back to the Cemetery

After talking to my mother for this week’s Saturday Night Genealogy Fun post, we began to talk about other things from the past and I asked her a question about one of the houses we used to live in when I was a child.  I remembered this house particularly because it was next to a cemetery.

The house was in Greensboro, North Carolina and with the help of Google Maps, we were able to locate it after *walking* up and down the street w/ the little orange man on Street View.  This is a picture of 1901 Armhurst Rd, Greensboro, NC where we lived at in 1981/1982.

After seeing the house online, I went back to a photo album of old pictures and found several pictures we’d taken in the yard.  My scanner is not working correctly right now, so the pictures will have to wait another day, but I was glad we found the house!

The next step was figuring out the cemetery.  We switched our view of the area from Street View to Satellite View and was able to see the land behind the house.  At first, we weren’t sure that it was still a cemetery, but then I noticed little white specks that looked like they could be headstones.

Wonderful! We’d confirmed it. Now, my mother remembered that at one end the cemetery dumped out onto the major road leading to our neighborhood, so back to Street View we went, dragging our little man over to the right spot.  At this level, it was much easier to see that it was indeed a cemetery.

Now, how would we find out the name? Google to the rescue! Literally 2 minutes later, my mom found a newspaper article about the cemetery after searching Google by entering the search string “cemetery phillips avenue greensboro”.  That led us to this article from October 9, 1907 about the disrepair the cemetery had fallen into over the years and it provided the name, Proximity Cemetery.   It started in 1895 as a burial ground for employees of nearby Cone Mills and about 2000 people are buried there; many though without identification.  It really was quite sad to read about how it had fared.  A little ironic that I started searching for it because of our proximity to it!

Now that I had a name, I went to the USGenWeb site for Guilford County, NC  site to see if it was listed there and it is, along with a link to it’s FindAGrave listing. On FindAGrave, I clicked on the first person that had a tombstone icon next to their name and wouldn’t you know that I knew the person who’d submitted it! His name is David and he’d uploaded a picture for me of Andrew Dennis McBride, father of author James McBride.  I’ve been working on James’ genealogy for a couple of years now and recenlty blogged about the death of his mother, the subject of his best-selling book, The Color of Water.  It was actually uncanny because I’d planned to email David earlier today to let him know of her passing.

It was nice to take this trip back in time to find and learn more about this cemetery.  I wish to find out more about the people who are buried there, so I have more research to do.  I feel like they are a part of my childhood too in some ways for of all the things I could remember about living in that house, the cemetery stands our first and foremost.  And I was 5 years old.

Comments (5)

  1. Becky


    I am a volunteer at Proximity. It is in the process of restoration. You would be pleased at the progress. It is very nice now. I am trying to find grant money, information, etc to further the efforts. Is Andrew McBride buried in this cemetery? Records have bbeen lost or tossed for this cemetery. I am i the process of tracking down the names of people who are buried here, but have no headstone-vandals!

  2. taneya (Post author)

    Hi Becky, no Andrew McBride is not buried there. He is buried in High Point. So glad to hear that the cemetery is being restored. I will email you.

  3. Peggy Doesburg

    So happy to see this site. My grandmother’s sister is buried in this place according to her death certificate.
    Her name is Ila Lucille (Jones) Ozment. Born 4/5/1895 died 12/10/1932.

  4. Taneya Koonce (Post author)

    Thanks Peggy. I am glad you enjoyed the post!

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