Once an obscure section of the Pleasant Hill Cemetery where slaves were buried is becoming a vision of beauty and peacefulness.

Mrs Sarah Q. Brown, president of Clyde Historical Society, seeks to preserve and promote the history of Clyde. She had a vision of enclosing the area with a wrought iron fence, a bench for reflecting and meditating plus a marker to denote the significance of the cemetery.

Brown applied and received grant money from the town of Clyde to fund this endeavor. Tammy McDowell enlisted the help of Sheriff Greg Christopher, who arranged for the inmates to help with clearing the land.

Deputy Glen Biller has gone above and beyond his call to purchase flowers for the graves out of his own pocket. Students from WNC University found at least 30 graves in the area.

There were a few marked headstones and numerous unmarked markers to indicate gravesites .The two readable headstones: Gentry Green. My second great grandparents, Henry and Dorcas Smathers, were slaves of Levi Smathers.

Their bill of sale indicates they were bought in 1863. GM Dorcas BOS indicates she was purchased for $2,900 along with her 9-month old son, Jefferson.

Lillian Lenoir, Alden Lenoir and Jefferson Smathers are interred there also.

A very special thank you to Mrs. Brown, Sheriff Christopher, staff, inmates and Tammy McDowell for the support given for this project.

If anyone has knowledge of their relatives being interred here, please contact me.

Gwen Walker Cradle lives in Mills River. She can be reached atgwcradle@gmail.com.

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