(Old Slave and "Colored" Cemetery)
Temperance Hall, Edgecombe County, North Carolina

Originally transcribed by Jo Webb in January, 2001
Updated by Deborah A. Lancaster in October, 2001
Contributed by Deborah A. Lancaster

Printed below are a list of graves. The cemetery is located approximately 1/4 mile behind then old Mercer Farm House (it is an old white house with a large porch just past the Temperance Hall crossroads, set back off the road with a fence in front and a horse stable to the right of the house).


From Pinetops, travel down Temperance Hall Road until you get to the Davistown/Mercer Road; turn right and travel 9/10 of a mile. The former Mercer "big house" sits on the left side of the road with a brown fence around it. To the RIGHT of the house, there is a path (sometimes, it is locked which means you would have to walk down the path to reach the cemetery). This path is large enough to travel by car or small truck.

Follow this path and go down towards the stables; turn left, then turn right and follow the fence line. As you get to the fence corner, the fence continues to the right. Follow the path to the RIGHT -within less than 1/10 mile, you will see a large deer stand in the distance in front of you. Approximately 150 ft. before the deer stand which will be directly in front of you, the path to the old cemetery is on your right clearly marked with orange marking tape tied to trees.

Follow the path for approximately 50 ft; look to the left and you will see more orange marking tape indicating the beginning of the cemetery. Look for the "graveyard ivy". The directions sound much more complicated than they really are!! It takes no more than a few minutes to drive back there or 10 minutes to walk back.

Last known burials took place in the 1940's. Dr. William P. Mercer, a local physician and farmer (as well as his descendants), allowed many free blacks to bury their family members in the graveyard free of charge. Each grave marker has a piece of orange marking tape attached to the nearest tree.

George Williams
July 5, 1916
Age 70 years

Zillie Williams
Wife of George Williams
August 8, 1845
November 21, 1925

Samuel A. Clark
December 25, 1847
September 18, 1912

Jim Tyson
June 7, 1869
July 10, 1938

Son of Jim & Mary Tyson
February 8, 1906
April 26, 1923


The above cemetery is a large cemetery, but the only graves that had stones are the ones above. I estimate that there are 100-150 graves although there are only 5 markers. According to Edgecombe County death records, as well as oral histories from living members of the Bynum family in Rocky Mount, the following black and mullato families are buried here:

Lancaster, Mercer, Bynum, Hinton, Staton, Hines, Williams, Tyson, Clark


10 Apr 2002 | 10 Apr 2002
Copyright © 2002. All rights reserved.
African American Cemeteries Online