I recently read a blurb from Open Durham about Bartlett Snipes Durham, the man which whom the city of Durham was named after. Apparently, when he died in 1858 he was buried in Orange County. In 1934, the city of Durham decided to exhume his body and have it moved to Maplewood Cemetery. So they sent men over to the graveyard and took crowbars and started poking deep into the ground until they felt a metal casket. Once the dirt was removed, the men were surprised to see a window where they could see Dr. Durham’s gold-rimmed glasses on top of his skull. After removing the casket, he lay in state at Hall-Wynn funeral home until he was moved to his final resting place in Maplewood Cemetery.
After discovering Bartlett Durham’s grave stone, I went in search of John Ruffin Green, the tobacco farmer, turned entrepreneur. His company, the William T. Blackwell Company is known for their use of the bull for their trademark. John Green died before he could experience the success of his company and the impact the bull had on the city of Durham.
After finding John Ruffin Green’s grave marker, I sought out Malbourne Angier, a store owner and business affiliate of Bartlett Durham and later one of the people who worked alongside Washington Duke to transform Durham from a small village to a bustling city.
I wanted to share one more interesting story that I found in Open Durham. “In a bit of dark humor, Wyatt Dixon related the story in a few of his Morning Herald newspaper columns that the first man to be buried in the cemetery opposed its purchase. Louis Austin, who evidently held some role in the city that gave him a voice in this decision opened that the city needed a baseball field far more than it did a cemetery. He was overruled. Soon afterward, he participated in a celebration of a Democratic victory by repeatedly firing a cannon that was located at the William T. Blackwell Company. The cannon exploded, killing Austin and removing limbs from his fellow celebrants. He is therefore buried at grave #1.”