Thank you for taking the time to read this page dedicated to locating, identifying and maintaining the
cemeteries in Craven County. We are all in danger of losing a great piece of our history and heritage
if these cemetereis are not located and repaired and then maintained.
We must all contact the County Commisioners in Craven County and make them aware of the plight of these
cemeteries and keep contacting them until steps and measures are taken to bring this to the forefront so
that our history is not lost with the cemeteries. There are numerous cemeteries that are in complete
disrepair and are in immediate danger of being lost forever. Won't you help to protect these precious
There are several North Carolina General Statutes to protect our cemeteries and I will list them all here
for you to see and read. I will also post some pictures on this page to show you the disrepair that some of the
cemeteries are in so you will see the urgency in this matter. I will also list each County Commisioners name and
contact info so that we can all work together to contact them and keep contacting them until something is done
to protect and preserve these cemeteries.
G.S. 14-148 and G.S. 14-149 outline the penalties for defacing and desecrating gravesites and for plowing over or covering up graves:
Violation is a misdemeanor and a Class I felony respectively. The fine is up to $500, and imprisonment is between sixty days and a year.
Both penalties may result.
G.S. 65-1 through G.S. 65-3 outline the duties of the county commissioners:
They are required to keep a list of all abandoned public cemeteries on file with the register
of deeds. A copy is also to be sent to the secretary of state's office. The county commissioners
are also required to take control of all abandoned public cemeteries and may appropriate whatever
sums are deemed necessary for their upkeep.
G.S. 65-7 through G.S. 65-11 describe the legal means for setting up a trust fund for the upkeep of a cemetery:
Money in amounts between $100 and $10,000 may be deposited with the clerk of superior court
as a perpetual trust fund for the maintenance of cemeteries. Trustees may be appointed by the
G.S. 65-13 details the proper procedure for the removal of graves, including who may disinter, move, and reinter:
The party moving the gravels) must give at least thirty days, written notice to the next of kin, if known. Notice must
also be published at least once a week for four successive weeks in a newspaper published in the county in which the
proposed removal is to take place. Removal expense is incurred by the mover, with some expense (not over $200) to be
incurred by the next of kin. The removal is performed by a funeral director under the supervision of the county commissioners
and the local health director. A certificate is then filed by the mover with the register of deeds.
G.S. 65-37 through G.S. 65-40 authorize municipalities to assume control of any abandoned cemeteries within their boundaries:
A municipality may appropriate, take possession of, and continue the use of certain lands as cemeteries. It is also authorized to use
funds for improvement and maintenance.
G.S. 65-74 and G.S. 65-75 discuss who may enter private property in order to investigate, visit, or maintain a private grave or an abandoned public cemetery:
A descendant of the interred or any other person with a special interest in the site may do so. He or she must notify the landowner in writing of his or her intent and
then may visit periodically during daylight hours only, with the landowner's approval. If such approval cannot be obtained, the descendant may petition the clerk of
superior court for an order allowing him or her access. After a special proceeding providing for notice and a hearing, the clerk may issue such an order, if deemed appropriate.
G.S. 70-29 through G.S. 70-33 give the procedure for notifying the proper authorities upon the discovery of unmarked remains:
Anyone who discovers unmarked burials, or suspects that they are being disturbed, must notify the county medical examiner or the state archaeologist immediately.
There is then a period of forty-eight hours to make arrangements for the protection or removal of the graves. The North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
may obtain administrative inspection warrants for the purpose of gathering additional information as necessary.
As you can see from the above statutes this is a very serious matter and is not to be taken lightly by anyone!