St. Matthew’s cemetery began several months before the Church building was completed. The first funeral in the church occurred on the thirteenth of February 1837, when Jane B. Carpenter, infant daughter of charter members John and Mary Carpenter, survived birth briefly, long enough to be named. Jane passed into the arms of the Lord on February 8th. Reverend John Fritchey, fulfilling the family’s wishes, preached her funeral in the Church before the interior of the structure was completed. The pastor stood on the floor joists to conduct the funeral. Weather records for that day no longer exist, but a Charlotte newspaper, The Charlotte Journal, reported on March 4, 1837 that winter storms with sleet raked the Charlotte region for five Sundays in the first two months of 1837.
Some subsequent burials in the first years of the cemetery might not all have been documented. Numerous early stones are so age-worn as to be illegible. Others are broken; some are missing, and a few graves went unmarked. Even today, the Cemetery Committee works to locate and identify unmarked graves.
Honor and Respect
At least 25 charter members are buried in the cemetery. Other charter members are buried in nearby family cemeteries (Ramsour cemetery and Boyd Cemetery, for example). Rev. David Crooks (1812-1859) who served the Church fourteen years (1845-1859) is buried in the St. Matthew’s cemetery. At least thirteen Civil War veterans are buried in the cemetery.
The tallest memorial standing a full ten feet tall is that of Henry F. Carpenter (1825-1911) who died one day before his eighty-fifth birthday. Mr. Carpenter was a longtime member of the Church and a founding organizer of Maiden’s Memorial Reformed Church in 1876. Another life-long member of note was Levi Schrum (1825-1911) who was born and lived his entire life near the Church, was in the first confirmation class in June of 1838, and was the longest-lived member upon his death in 1911 at the age of 90 years a brief two months after the passing of Henry Carpenter.
The cemetery was enlarged in 1926 from approximately one-half acre to a little more than two acres with the expansion of burial space north of the original cemetery. Hand drawn maps from the 1920s show this space was divided into family plots containing 8 gravesites each.
Serving Our Members Past
In 2015, the cemetery added a 64-niche columbarium. Today, the Church, Arbor and Cemetery occupy a park-like setting, welcoming genealogists, visitors and historians. Persons seeking specific information can call the Church office during regular hours. We maintain a digital map and an index of known burials.
The cemetery fund welcomes donations for the maintenance of grounds, gravestones, and purchase of footstones when unmarked graves are located.