History of the Friedens Church Cemetery

From "Two Hundred Twenty-Five Years History of Friedens Lutheran Church, 1745-1970" written in 1970 by Lalah G. Apple (1904-1974) for the 225th Anniversary. A member of the Friedens Church, Miss Apple is buried at Friedens.

Friedens Cemetery, possibly the oldest cemetery in Guilford, is located in the northeast section, about 1.3 miles north of present-day Gibsonville on NC-61. According to the church history, there are more than 1,000 unmarked graves. A number of soapstone markers are handcarved in old German script. The cemetery is well kept.

Friedens Cemetery History

The cemetery of Friedens Lutheran Church is one of the oldest and largest to be found in Piedmont North Carolina. Some of the graves date back as far as 1750. In the case of some of the older families seven and eight generations are represented here. The graves of several of the original settlers whose names are recorded in "Rupp's Thirty Thousand Names of Immigrants" are here. Soldiers rest here who fought in the Revolutionary war, War of 1812, Mexican War, Civil War, Spanish-American War, World War 1, World War 11 and the Vietnam War. Old slate and soap-stone tombstones carry inscriptions in the German language which was frequently used down to 1825. Many of the graves are so old that records have been lost, and the stones themselves are broken and fallen. There are family names that have passed entirely from local history. Once, Friedens Cemetery was the only burial ground for an area of about ten miles square, and it is estimated that from four to five thousand graves are located there.

Those concerned with the story of the past find this a spot of unusual interest. Here sleep the men and women who have helped make the history of two centuries.

The proper care of such a cemetery is quite a task, and a special committee for this purpose finds much to engage its attention. Every effort is made to see that it is kept in good condition. There is an honor roll of scores who make an annual contribution for this purpose which helps very much. In 1930 a special organization was formed under the name of Friedens Cemetery Endowment, Incorporated, which was granted a charter by the Secretary of the State of North Carolina, to solicit and hold funds given for the care and preservation of this cemetery. The first Board of Directors elected by the congregation consisted of: Max Fryar, president; George Sockwell, vice president; J. H. Joyner, secretary & treasurer; P. C. Summers, and H. H. Huffines.

In the oldest part of the cemetery on the exact spot where the first building stood, an unusual marker has been erected from native stones, the base of which is really the original steps of the first church built over 203 years ago. Weather-stained by climatic conditions and worn by constant use of countless years, they gird the memorial, on top of which rests an open Bible carved in granite. Erected in 1932, this marker bears the dates 1745-1871, the latter being the date on which the site for the church was moved to where the present brick building stands. Full grown forests nearby attest to the truth that time has slowly but firmly enveloped the history of a courageous group of German immigrants who sought out this section of North Carolina for a home, and in those first years of living here built a church founded on the belief they held dear to their being - a church where years later the descendants could carry on in the same freedom-loving way as they.

Cemetery Monument

Photos courtesy of William J. Newman

Copyright 2000 by Peggy Reece Bruckner. All rights reserved. This site may be freely linked to, but not duplicated or copied in any fashion without my consent. Some material is copyrighted by others and used with their permission.

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