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Weeping Willow A.M.E. Zion Church, Charlotte, N.C.

Cemetery/Graveyard

Sharon

Atop a hill just east of the intersection of Runnymede Road and Sharon Road, where Colonial style mansions now stand, was the large cemetery of Weeping Willow A.M.E. Zion Church.  This portion of what is now an upscale residential and commercial district was farmland in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, where cotton and grain crops were cultivated.  Substantial numbers of African Americans, principally sharecroppers or tenant farmers, lived in this rural neighborhood.  Weeping Willow A.M.E. Zion Church was one of several African American churches that came into existence in rural Mecklenburg after the Civil War, when the strictures against African Americans having their own houses of worship were abolished.  St. Lloyd Presbyterian Church stood nearby, and its cemetery has been preserved near the intersection of Sharon Road and Colony Road.

Weeping Willow was a thriving church with many members.  Hence the cemetery was large.  By the early 1960s, however, by which time farming had long ended along this portion of Sharon Rd. and the area had became increasingly suburbanized, Weeping Willow A.M.E. Zion Church disbanded, but the buried bodies remained. 

In the mid-1980s, as the newspaper article below attests, developers, totally unaware of the cemetery's existence, began digging up human remains and had to arrange for the bodies to be relocated once they were discovered.  Archeologists began a systematic investigation of the site.  Some 209 graves were excavated.  Examine the photographs below to see the process.  

 

1988 Dan and Mary Lynn Morrill took Sarah Duren to the Weeping Willow Graveyard on Sharon Road in 1988.  Which was removed for a development

Sarah Duren cried at the graveyard when Dan and Mary Lynn Morrill took her to the site.  She then wrote the above information for the Historic Landmarks Commission's file on the property.  Sarah A. Duren (Mrs. James) resided at 119 S. Smallwood Place in Charlotte, N.C.

Transcription of above:

Weeping Willow A.M.E. Zion

Written by Sarah Duren (Mrs. James, Smallwood Avenue, Charlotte, NC)

Comfort Luisa Alexander Ross was born November 2, 1862 in Mecklenburg county, near Sugaw Creek Presbyterian Church, North Tryon Street where the Park and Shop now stands.  A little hut stood in a patch of woods called (quarters) where negro slaves lives is where my mother was born-  first daughter to George and Elizabeth Alexander.  After growing up on these quarters,  John W. Ross and Comfort Louisa courted and married at young ages.  “Marse Charlie T. Alexander” as he was called gave each family a piece of land in the Briar Creek section near Queen College, which used to be “Myers quarters”.  They use to carry water from a spring where the street car line was.  In the year of 1886 A.D. a group of devoted pioneers decided to build somewhere to worship.  They built a log hut under a grove of weeping willow trees.  Which gave birth to the Weeping Willow African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.   My parent use to walk from Briar Creek Home to Weeping Willow.  They were some of the first founders of this church.  My parents moved around in the county as their family grew.  Their children were George, Alley, Arthor Baxter, Pinkney, Babe, Maggie Lue, Neola and Sarah.  My father went away, my brother moved to the First Ward part of the city on Eleventh and Alexander Street.  besides Mt. Moriah Church.  Rev. Scott was the pastor.  Later she moved to Brooklyn, South Morrow Street.  I was enrolled in the old Myers Street Graded School.  Our church membership was moved from Weeping Willow to St. Paul Baptist Church on E. First Street under the leadership of Rev. P.M. Mayfield.

My Mother

Comfort Louise Alexander Ross born November 2, 1862 in Mecklenburg County.  Expired at her home Feb. 9, 1936.  Home address 710 East Second Street.

Survivors:  daughters Alley Ne Rachel Epps.  Maggie Lou Johnson, Johnie Neola Steart, Sarah Allie Ross of the home.  Brother, Rev. George A. Alexander Rachel Johnson, and Jane Dinkins, all of Charlotte, a host of grandchildren, relatives and friends Rev. P.M. Mayfield officiating.

Grier and Thompson Funeral Directors

Buried in Weeping Willow Cemetery Sharon Road.

My Brother

1927

George Amzie Ross, born September 7, 1880.  Mecklenburg County expired in New York City December 1, 1927.  Home address:  863 Honer Street, Bronx, N.Y.   Leaves a wife Mary Susan (Culp) Ross, a son George Neulize Rose, a daughter Connie Elizabeth Ross, Asbury Park, New Jersey, Colton Ross Charlotte.  Buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery, N.York City. 

  

 

Cemetery was moved to 2220 Milton Road around 1989.  Click here to view Mecklenburg County Cemetery Records for Weeping Willow.