Address:PO Box 723 Manteo NC 27954
The Cemetery Board meets on the third Thursday of the month every 3 months at 9:00 AM at Town Hall.
Only eight recorded burials are recorded in the cemetery prior to the turn of the century: Stephen Wescott b.1797 d.1870, Frances Dough b.1845 d.1895, Alma Raper Evans b.1896 d. 1897, Rosa A. Brinkley Evans b.1842 d.1898, C. E. Hooper b.1838 d.1899, Etta Meekins b.1890 d.1899, Carrie Ellenor Evans b.1857 d.1899, Asa Warren Jones b.1846 d.1899.
The history of the cemetery is closely allied with the history of the Mount Olivet Methodist Church established in 1886, so much so that the cemetery is often referred to as the Mount Olivet Cemetery. Comprising several acres, the cemetery is bordered by two streets on the north and west, with two lanes running through the cemetery itself. Today, it contains some 2,368 burial sites.
A walk through the cemetery is like reading the town’s history, etched in stone. Below is an overview of the cemetery’s place in Manteo’s past, as further proof of why this building project should be a tribute to its future.
The oldest part of what is now known as the Manteo Cemetery is that section adjoining Wingina Street on the west and Cemetery Lane on the north, running in an easterly direction approximately halfway back from Wingina Street to Essex Street.
The second oldest part of the cemetery was laid out sometime before the turn of the century and has often been referred to on old plats as the Mount Olivet Cemetery. It is that section of the cemetery adjoining Wingina Street on the west, Cemetery Lane on the south, John Borden Street on the north, and running in an easterly direction approximately halfway back from Wingina Street to Essex Street.
A 1907 plat shows the eastern boundary of the Mount Olivet Cemetery adjoining “D. W. Etheridge’s Field.” In 1907, Wingina Street was named Little Street and John Borden Street was called Wescott Road.
Mount Olivet is the name given to the Methodist Church located a short distance south of the cemetery. The church was founded in 1886 by Confederate veteran John Wesley Evans and his wife, Rosa A. Brinkley Evans; Asa V. Evans and his wife, Celia Evans; Richard C. Evans (unmarried in 1886); and Samuel E. Mann and his wife, Virginia Hayman Mann.
The Evans family history on Roanoke Island begins in 1873 with the arrival of John Wesley and Rosa Evans. They built their house at what is now 210 Sir Walter Raleigh Street. The family had strong ties to Methodism passed down from Zachariah Evans, who organized the Evans Methodist Episcopal Church in 1811 near Edenton. Rosa began teaching Sunday School in the Dare County Courthouse the year they arrived.
By 1886, the Mount Olivet Methodist Church was organized under the pastorate of Joseph G. Lennon with services held in the courthouse until the church building was completed in 1889.
Mount Olivet Cemetery was established some time between the church’s founding in 1886, and the date when the first member of the congregation was buried there, in 1885. The 1907 plat shows 46 cemetery lots, with an area reserved for a public garden and a structure, a plan typical of cemeteries laid out by our Victorian grandfathers.
Minnie Etheridge Estate
The next expansion of the cemetery occurred mid-century with the addition of lands adjoining the eastern boundaries of both the Old Cemetery and the Mount Olivet Cemetery. This addition more than doubled its size. A survey plat dated November 1948 shows more than two hundred additional lots. The plat is titled MANTEO CEMETERY, Minnie L. Etheridge Estate, T. J. Jessup, Surveyor, Hertford, NC.
The New Section
Sometime after 1948, Church Street, now called Essex Street, was extended through the Minnie Etheridge Estate land in a northerly direction connecting Broad (today’s Devon) Street to Pine Street, formerly Wescott Road and today called John Borden Street.
By the mid-1980s, many sections of the cemetery had fallen into considerable disrepair. Headstones were broken and trees were growing where gravesites had once been tended by family members.
The Board of Commissioners of the Town of Manteo set as one of its goals the acquisition and perpetual care of the cemetery. In March of 1988, the Town passed a resolution designating it a Historic Landmark Site. By March of 1989, the Town had acquired all unsold lots, and a Board of Cemetery Trustees was formed.
The Cemetery Board established a trust account, and hundreds of families made donations. Up to 80 percent of the annual earnings from the trust account may be used for perpetual care; 20 percent must remain in the account for growth. The Trustees established an interment fee with all proceeds going into the Trust Account. The Town of Manteo accepted responsibility for perpetual care of the entire cemetery.In 1992, the Town purchased an additional 1.09 acres of what was believed to be a portion of the original Minnie Etheridge Estate for future expansion of the cemetery. This new section is located east of Cemetery Lane and contains burial sites for 904 people.