If you’ve read even some of my blog posts, you know I enjoy research.
A few years ago, my daughter and I put boots to the ground to find a ‘lost’ local cemetery after I did all the background research I could. Here are links to the two blog posts I wrote about: The Challenge of the Dickens Family Cemetery and The Dickens Family Cemetery: FOUND.
I make my decisions on which ‘lost’ cemeteries to look for based on photo requests from FindAGrave.com. A few months ago, I started looking for another ‘lost’ local cemetery with photo requests: Murchison Cemetery.
Murchison is an old cemetery. The last burial there was in 1926. Many burials date back to the early 1800s. The only information on the cemetery page for Murchison was ‘near Bean’s Crossroads’. I didn’t grow up in this state, let alone this county, so I was at a loss for the location this crossroads.
Starting With People
I asked a friend who grew up here if she knew where Bean’s Crossroads is. She didn’t know.
I asked another friend who grew up here, too, and who seemingly knows everyone in the county. She didn’t know, either, but she posted about it in a Facebook group for people who grew up in this town. Her post was noticed right away by many.
Bean’s Crossroads Identification and Memories
Those who responded identified Bean’s Crossroads as the intersection of Steel Bridge Road and S. Plank Road in Sanford, Lee County, North Carolina.
They also talked about Mr. Bean who owned a store at that corner, hence the name. A few people reported that Mr. Bean was a family member of theirs. A few others talked about stopping there on their walk home from the bus to get a drink or a snack. I smiled as a read the responses, knowing it stirred up good memories for these people.
Internet Research for the Win
While waiting for responses in that FB group, and I came across a few useful resources:
–Buffalo Creek Chronicles, Vol. 1 by Kathy Brooks Jones (available online)
–Carolina Genesis: Beyond the Color Line edited by Scott Withrow (available online)
Once I had a location for Bean’s Crossroads, I began analyzing these internet resources. I found there was another Murchison Cemetery in the same area, but it was called the Becky Murchison Cemetery. It wasn’t long before I concluded that Murchison and Becky Murchison are the same cemetery.
Here’s why I say that:
- In Buffalo Creek Chronicles, Vol. 1, the author uses Becky Murchison Cemetery as the name.
- Censuscemetery.com calls it Murchison Cemetery.
- Carolina Genesis: Beyond the Color Line calls it Murchison Cemetery.
- All of these sources say ‘near Bean’s Crossroads’ as a location.
- The GPS location given on the Becky Murchison Cemetery page on FindAGrave is in the general location of the directions to the cemetery given by Jones in her book.
- Jones’ list of memorials for the Becky Murchison Cemetery is the same as the list for Murchison Cemetery on cemeterycensus.com.
I was excited now!
With the location of Bean’s Crossroads, and Jones’ directions, I had a good idea of where the cemetery was. Some research needed to be done in the county land records to find the owner of the property. My daughter is great with those records, so I would put her on that.
But before I could, the air was let out of my tires as I sped down the road to cemetery hunting success.
I came across an old photo request on FindAGrave for Murchison from 2011 that reported this problem:
I searched the entire cemetery and could not find the [requested] grave. This very old cemetery was once maintained by the state or some cemetery preservation society. No one has looked after this cemetery in several years and it is badly overgrown. It is located over a mile from any state road and is on private property. It can be accessed only with permission. Many of the larger stones are broken and are unreadable as many of the ones that are still standing.
This old photo request has since been removed from FindAGrave.
If that was the condition in 2011, it’s bound to be much worse now and beyond what I’m willing and able to do.
What I did do was send an email to FindAGrave asking them to connect the two cemeteries and add the location for Bean’s Crossroads and the directions from Jones’ book. FindAGrave honored my request.
A partial hunting success for this adventure. I can live with that.
What family history successes have you had lately? Please comment.
Copyright © 2023 Nancy H. Vest All Rights Reserved
Hi Nancy! I have been to this Cemetery. I believe it was 2009. Then, it was part of woodland owned by a Gilliam family who were kind enough to let me walk it to locate the grave of my ggg-grandfather, Kenneth McIntosh and ggg-grandmother, Catherine Finlayson.
At the time, it was rather overgrown and few headstones were directly legible. Many of these Scots migrated around 1810 to what is now the area of Vidalia, Georgia, where some grave sites pursuit in the historic “McMillan Burial Grounds” in downtown Vidalia.
Nancy H. Vest says
Thanks for commenting. I’m glad the Gilliam family let you find your family graves. Not all landowners are so open and willing to allow that. I didn’t know these Scots migrated to Georgia. Better opportunities for them I suppose.