Cemetery notes and/or description: This Abandoned African American Cemetery Has been know by 5 different names. Geer Cemetery, City Cemetery, Old City Cemetery, East Durham Cemetery, and Mason Cemetery. It currently contains about 4 acres, and contains the remains of many of Durham's prominent African American people, many of which were born into slavery.
The cemetery was started in 1876 with the burial of an 11 year old black farm hand of Jesse B. Geer, who was killed accidentally after being dragged by a horse on the Geer plantation.
On March 28th 1877 a deed was written selling 2 acres of land for 50.00 to three men. Willie Moore, John Daniel, and Nelson Mitchell. The deed was signed by Jesse Geer and his wife Polly. The deed stated that the land was to be used for a burial ground.
The Cemetery was closed in 1939, after the health department inspected the cemetery and found that it was overcrowded.
This list is a combination of grave markers and Durham County Death records.
Please note that North Carolina law only required death certificates after 1913, so there are about 30 years of graves that may only be marked with stones or nothing at all.
I lived down the street from this cemetery,as a child, and played in it for several years before I knew of it's importance.