Oldest marked grave in Western North Carolina might be in Rutherford County

By Todd Robbins

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    RUTHERFORD COUNTY, North Carolina (WLOS) -- The mountains hold a rich and complicated past. News 13 photographer Todd Robbins touches on part of that history by trying to find out where the oldest marked grave in Western North Carolina is?

While exploring this question, it's important to distinguish between a marked grave versus an unmarked one. In other words, where is the grave with the oldest date on it?

It just might be in a cemetery in Rutherford County.

Don Barrett of Rutherfordton is a member of Brittain Presbyterian Church, organized in 1768. He showed us the grave of Lieutenant Thomas McCulloch, a Virginia man who died in 1780 during the Revolutionary War.

Barrett says McCulloch died in the battle of Kings Mountain. Barrett says he's one of 13 Revolutionary War soldiers buried in the cemetery.

Of course, there are older graves that are unmarked, as Heather South explains. She is the Lead Archivist at the Western Regional Archives in Asheville, and she says that the oldest burial sites would be of indigenous peoples, such as the Cherokee and Catawba. Those graves would go back many thousands of years.

Barrett says his church has quite a distinctive history, as well, and is honored to be a part of that history.

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