The Young Family Cemetery

Step in for a visit.

In Raleigh, North Carolina, there is a place where glimpses of a bygone time shimmer in the embrace of encompassing trees.

The place I speak of is William B. Umstead State Park, a 5,579-acre retreat nestled within the bustling Research Triangle area between Raleigh, Cary, and Raleigh/Durham International Airport.

Despite the park’s location amongst a thriving urban setting, nearly 20 miles of hiking trails meander through the park and guide you by the remnants of homesteads and families long past.

The Loblolly Trail is a well-worn byway that leads you past the whimsical plot where The Young Family lay. The Young cemetery lies to the south, right off the entrance to the Loblolly trail. The Young family were farmers, who spent the majority of their lives harvesting cotton and corn.

Looking closely at cemetery, a crippled, rusted, fence encircles the graves. Many trees have fallen around the land and hover over the cemetery. Many of the gravestones have collapsed and are unreadable, leaving the cemetery in seriously disrepair and longing for tender care. There appear to be seven graves and only three are definitely marked. The most prominent being the headstone of Irene M Young. Ms. Young was born on the 24th of July in the year 1877. She later died on July 3rd of 1929.

Although, chiseled in the stone is the lonely word “Sister”, Irene is surrounded by her family members James and Martha. Looking back, Irene’s gravestone hints at a time when it seemed more meaningful to honor the dead with a long-standing stone.

Unfortunately as timed past, The Young’s began to suffer along with the other families of the time. Poor soil, hard times and a lack of diversity in their crops lead to the ruin of the Young Family farm.

After the failures of many of the local families in the community, the federal government intervened in 1934. The government had determined that the land was no longer suitable for farming and bought many of the remaining families out. The government offered landowners $11.56 per acre or about $200 adjusted for inflation.

Particular families had had different feelings about taking up stakes. Some families were happy to relocate while others kept their property for the rest of their lives. Some have said, that one landowner kept their home into the early 1980’s.

Shot, Cut, Graded, Mixed and Mastered by Thomas R. Monette.

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