The map was not entirely clear, but the graveyard was definitely on Barnards Mill Road, which branched off Harmony Highway somewhere above Hunting Creek. Though morning, the sky was dark with impending rain. I kept an eye on the left side of the road. A bridge over the creek … an unmarked road … “Bridge Out.” Wait, wasn’t the cemetery by a bridge? I backtracked and turned off the highway. After a half-mile or so, the blocked bridge and a path, marked No Trespassing, leading into the woods. I am not a fool. I trotted up to the closest house and knocked. A middle-aged woman peered through a window, then motioned me around to the side door. “I’m looking for a cemetery near here. Welch-Nicholson.” She gestured behind me and smiled. Up the hill across the road, a low stacked-stone wall inset with a simple iron gate surrounded the remains of a hundred years of Nicholsons.
My great-great-great-great-great-grandfather James Nicholson bought a mill on the creek in the late 1820s and probably established the graveyard. His father, Revolutionary War veteran John Stockton Nicholson, who was born 1757 in Princeton, New Jersey, and migrated to North Carolina circa 1800, is buried Muddy Creek Friends cemetery, Kernersville, North Carolina. He died in 1838.
John was married twice, to Mary McComb, then Catherine Anne “Caty” Stevenson. Mary bore one son, the James Nicholson above. Caty bore ten, including John S. Nicholson Jr. Mary McComb Nicholson is buried near John Jr., whose stone is shown above. Caty is buried at Muddy Creek.
James Nicholson married Mary Allison in 1815; their children were Thomas Allison Nicholson and John McComb Nicholson. Thomas A. Nicholson married his first cousin Rebecca Clampett Nicholson, daughter of John S. Nicholson Jr. and Mary Fultz.
Thomas Nicholson’s broken gravestone is propped next to that of Rebecca.
Thomas and Rebecca’s oldest child James Lee Nicholson, my great-great-great-grandfather, is also buried here. He died a few weeks short of his 30th birthday in 1871.
Photos taken by Lisa Y. Henderson in December 2013.