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 Margaret Bain <I>Cameron</I> Mordecai

Margaret Bain Cameron Mordecai

Death 12 Mar 1886 (aged 74)
Burial Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA
Memorial ID 36564875 · View Source
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Margaret Bain Cameron was born on her parent's plantation "Fairntosh" in Hillsborough, Orange County, NC, the 4th of 8 children born to wealthy lawyer and planter, Duncan Cameron & Rebecca Benneham. Her grandfather was the Rev. John Cameron who immigrated from Scotland in 1773, settling in Mecklenburg Co, VA and marrying Anne Owen Nash, the daughter of an attorney of the King of England.

The Cameron family was one of antebellum North Carolina's wealthiest families, having migrated to the Piedmont area from Virginia in the mid-18th century. On the eve of the Civil War, the Cameron family (at this time run by her brother, Paul and siblings) owned over 1,000 slaves and nearly 30,000 acres of plantation in Orange, Wake, and Granville Counties (NC) as well as plantations in Alabama and Mississippi.

Despite their wealth, many of the 8 children were sickly and afflicted by disease. Margaret, who was in good health, ended up running the household, caring for her siblings, and later, her aged parents until she was 42-years old. She continued to care for her paralyzed sister, Mildred Cole Cameron, even after she wed; taking her to New York and Philadelphia to see doctors and causing her to be away from her husband for months at a time.

Margaret fell in love with wealthy lawyer, banker, and businessman George Washington Mordecai, son of Jewish scholar and educator, Jacob Mordecai and (2nd) wife Rebecca Mears/Myers. Despite having converted to the Episcopalian faith, Duncan Cameron, never wanted his daughter to marry George Mordecai because of his Jewish heritage, and refused his request to marry. With a twist of irony, Duncan made no provision in his will that she could not marry Mordecai, and 5 months after Duncan Cameron died, Margaret & George were wed on June 1, 1853.

The not-so-young newlyweds (she was 42 and he 52) did have one child that died at birth. Despite this loss, the couple had a strong, loving marriage.

Margaret was widowed in 1871, when her husband passed, just two months shy of his 70th birthday. Of interest, just two years before he died, the tiny Jewish community of Raleigh approached him to buy land in Oakwood Cemetery (land which George had already donated to the city), as there was no burial place closer than Richmond for the Jews to bury their dead. Perhaps remembering his Jewish heritage, George sold the group a 35 x 125 foot plot to bury their dead for $217.85. (The "Hebrew Section" is near the Confederate Soldiers graves.)

Margaret Bain Cameron Mordecai passed in 1886, just about one month shy of her 75th birthday.

Family Members



Wife of George Washington Mordecai / Daughter of Duncan Cameron & Rebecca Bennehan





  • Created by: pbfries
  • Added: 30 Apr 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 36564875
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Margaret Bain Cameron Mordecai (21 Apr 1811–12 Mar 1886), Find A Grave Memorial no. 36564875, citing Oakwood Cemetery, Raleigh, Wake County, North Carolina, USA ; Maintained by pbfries (contributor 46951237) .