Margaret Lane Cemetery, sometimes called the Old Slave Cemetery, first appears in written record in 1885. It is believed that Peter Brown Ruffin, a landowner and employer to the west of Hillsborough, bought the two 1-acre lots that comprise the cemetery from the town in 1854 as a burial ground for slaves belonging to his family and to the Cadwalader Jones family. Anecdotal evidence suggests that burials occurred here even earlier. After the Civil War, the site continued as an African-American cemetery.
As decades passed, the cemetery became filled with numerous markers and brick vaults. By 1918, the cemetery was reported as nearly full. After the last recorded burial, in 1931, the cemetery gradually became heavily overgrown and was vandalized. Most of the gravestones and monuments vanished. The town eventually took over care of the cemetery.
In 1987, the town restored Margaret Lane Cemetery. On December 4, 2010, a brick monument, designed to preserve three headstones from unknown grave sites at the cemetery, was unveiled during an official ceremony.
For more information about the cemetery or to provide information about people buried there, contact Public Works Supervisor Ken Hines at 919-732-1270 ext. 83 or c/o Town of Hillsborough, PO Box 429, Hillsborough, NC 27278. Or visit the town's website, www.ci.hillsborough.nc.us.