Historic Oakwood Cemetery’s first graves were dug for “move-ins” – Confederate soldiers’ remains relocated from Arlington and Gettysburg. Some 150 years later, the graveyard will soon take about 65 more long-buried bodies into perpetual care.
The new remains will be moved from Rolesville and Apex in advance of the potential development of their current resting sites. State law required public hearings at the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
“This is kind of a very unusual item,” Wake County planner Keith Langford told board members sworn in Monday.
At the first site, a wooded ridge about 700 feet northwest of Rolesville Town Hall, an archaeologist found 18 likely graves and 12 unmarked stones. Property records make scant mention of the cemetery, though it was clear of brush in a 1938 aerial photograph, researchers Deborah Joy and Matthew Gill said.
The second site, across the road from Apex’s Olive Chapel Elementary, contained 47 stones, six with names. Among those buried are Willie Wimberly, who died at age 1 in 1906, and Nanie Holland, age 6.
The county and applicants heard no objections after posting signs at the sites, publishing notices and contacting possible descendants. A funeral director must conduct the disinterment and reburial under the observation of county staff, at the expense of landowners or developers.
Most of what will be moved is soil, as wooden coffins disintegrate. Oakwood Cemetery, with some 40 open acres, has plenty of room available.