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What is the history of the cemetery in the treeline near Maides Park?

Ben Steelman

Little has been recorded about this little African-American cemetery, now in a wooded area just west of Maides Park, at the north end of Manly Avenue off Princess Street. It’s not even clear if it has a formal name.

The property originally belonged to James and Matilda Maides, who operated a peanut farm in the area and for whom Maides Park is named. Mr. and Mrs. Maides’ tombstone can now be found in the cemetery.

Not all the graves are marked, and it is not certain how many people are buried there. Judging from tombstone dates, the cemetery was in use as early as 1904, although Percy Glaspie — whose father is buried there — says that some burials date back well into the 1800s. Burials slacked off after World War II, although interments continued until at least 1970.

In 1963, Anne Maides Graham Payne donated 15 acres of land to the City of Wilmington, which became Maides Park. As of 2004 (when Star-News staff writer Bettie Fennell wrote about the cemtery), it was unclear if the cemetery property was included in her gift. Mrs. Payne died in 1987 at the age of 104.

Local churches and community groups are trying to organize a regular cleanup for the cemetery, Mr. Glaspie said, but nothing has been done yet.

User-contributed question by:
Carol Laskody

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