North Carolina plantation owner buried with 12 other people rattles community




By Dawn Cranfield

Last Monday, state crews in Shelby, North Carolina, started disinterring 13 people who were buried in a plot dating back more than 150 years.  The plot belonged to plantation owner, John Poston (1797-1862); the graves were members of the Poston Family.

Poston, a plantation owner, inherited the land from his father, Samuel.  Poston and his wife, Mabel are buried next to each other.  They had a large family of nine children; two of their sons, Samuel and Daniel, along with their wives, are buried in the plot.  It is believed two of Poston’s infants who died as children are buried in graves marked “unknown”.

Additionally, family historical records show Poston’s parents could be buried in the plot.

Ned Cash, a descendent of Poston’s is opposed to the state’s decision to exhume the bodies and move them.  While he understands the shelby ncneed for progress, he does not comprehend the necessity to use the plot his ancestors chose as their resting place.

“‘It’s a shame with this big open field. My question has been why they couldn’t move it 50 feet in one direction or another,’” says Ned Cash.  ‘These people elected to be buried here and I question who are we to say progress is to change that location now, when there are other choices.’”  (

As crews work to unearth the remains, they are placing everything they remove into smaller caskets, including the “odd” items such as “nails, buttons, hinges, and bone fragments.”  (

Regardless of the families’ protests, their ancestors will be exhumed and moved to a location several miles away, Zion Baptist Church Cemetery.  After a brief weather related interruption, the excavation work will resume today, March 7.


Although some may find it entirely distasteful to move a body once it has been buried, others call it progress and have determined to move forward even “over their dead body”.

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