WNCHA Hikes With a Historian: Absalom Dillingham Cemetery Walking Tour
September 14 @ 11:00 AM - 12:30 PM
The Western North Carolina Historical Association (WNCHA) invites you to join us for the second event in our special four-part Hikes With A Historian series where we explore the stories of several local cemeteries. Register for individual events, or all four at a discount. The first tour, Wednesday, September 14 from 11AM – 12:30PM takes place in Asheville’s Newton Academy and South Asheville cemeteries.
In the early-to-mid 1800s, people enslaved by the Smith and McDowell families began burying their loved ones in what today is known as the South Asheville Cemetery. There were over 2,000 individuals laid to rest in this cemetery, which closed to burials in 1943, though only about 100 graves are marked. Join WNCHA Executive Director Anne Chesky Smith on a tour that begins at the Smith-McDowell House, WNCHA’s facility, to learn about the lives of the people who were forced to work for the family. The tour will then proceed to Fernihurst Mansion to see the original burial site of the Smith matriarch and patriarch before viewing their present-day graves in the nearby Newton Academy Cemetery. The tour will end at South Asheville Cemetery. Chesky Smith will share stories of the emancipated Avery and Bailey families alongside the Smith and McDowell families who enslaved them and speak to how the lives of these families were intertwined long after the end of the Civil War. The tour requires some walking on uneven terrain – less than .5 miles.
When: Wednesday, September 14
Time: 11AM – 12:30PM
Meet: 10:45AM at the Big Ivy Community Center (540 Dillingham Rd, Barnardsville, NC 28709
- We will carpool from the community center to the nearby Absalom Dillingham Cemetery (.75 miles away)
Hike Length: approximately .25 miles (easy difficulty)
What to Bring: Water, snacks, comfortable and sturdy shoes, weather appropriate clothing, any needed medications.
Rain Date: In the event of inclement weather, participants will be notified in advance, no later than 8PM the evening prior if the event is to be rescheduled. The alternate rain date will be rescheduled promptly.
- For single event – $10 for WNCHA members/$20 non-members.
- For Series: $20 WNCHA members/$35 non-members
We also have a few no-cost, community-funded tickets available. We want our events to be accessible to as many people as possible. If you are able please consider making a donation along with your ticket purchase. These donations are placed in our Community Fund, which allows us to offer tickets at no cost to those who would not be able to attend otherwise.
Note: Those registering for the series need only register once. You will be manually registered for the remaining events.Register Here
Emergency Contact Form: Registrants must fill out the emergency contact form in advance. Those registering for the series only need to sign the form once. https://forms.gle/qHftZJdcMrC38JvM6
This outing is led by Trevor Freeman, WNCHA public programs director. He has an MA in American history and is interested in both Appalachian and environmental history. He is also wilderness first aid/CPR certified.
- Please do not attend if you feel unwell or have been exposed to someone with Covid
- Social distancing is recommended when hiking and when the group is stopped
For questions, please contact Trevor Freeman at [email protected]
(Image: Absalom Dillingham Cemetery, courtesy Kelly Hatfield)