The Children’s Home Society of North Carolina’s burial plot in Greensboro’s Green Hill Cemetery would be easy to miss if you were casually strolling along, if not for the pedestal-styled cross monument overlooking the rows of flat grass markers. From the organization’s name, I originally thought the Society was an orphanage, but from what I have read it seems like wards were placed in foster homes until adoptive families were found instead of living in a a group home situation. The earliest children placed were older and living on the streets but the Society eventually began placing infants too.
Each of the small markers bears only a first name and the year of the child’s death, with the earliest dates in the early 1900s and the latest in the early 2000s. Reading each name, I wondered what each child’s story was. What situation led to his or her placement in foster care? Many of them were perhaps victims of a society which caused unwed mothers to give up the child out of shame. Poverty, drug abuse, neglect, abuse, poor life choices, abandonment, deaths of the parents, and medical issues could have also led to these children being put up for adoption.
Find A Grave contributor “Brad” had already created memorials for some of the burials, which included death certificates for many of the interments. From this information, a little more insight into these children’s lives is given. (The graves are not listed here in chronological order.)
Nellie Flynn, a daughter of Drewry Jones and Nellie Flynn, died of “entero-colitis” in June 1918. She was one month old.
Jack Wilson died in May 1919 aged three months (approximately). He was the son of I. Wilson and he died of malnutrition with “bottle feeding” as a contributory cause of death.
Pauline Hollyfield, the daughter of Daisy Hollyfield, was born in April of 1921. She died in June 1921; her cause of death: “hereditary syphilis (?) and general marasmus”.
Elizabeth Sunday lived from February to July 1924. Her primary cause of death was broncho-pneumonia with colitis listed as a secondary.
Lucy May was born in June 1920 in Charlotte, NC. Her parents were not listed on her death certificate. She died in September 1921 of what looks like “meningitis” with dysentery as a contributory cause of death.
Herbert Mack Robertson was born in July 1922 to Clarence Graber and Frances Robertson. He died less than two months later of gastro-enteritis.
William Plumber, born in May 1922 and died in April 1923 of “[illegible] colitis.”
Agnes Anderson, born in March 1925 and died in August of the same year, from gastroenteritis.
Billy King lived from July to September of 1927. His cause of death was gastro-intestinal indigestion.
Jack King, who has the exact same birth date as Billy King (perhaps a twin), died in October of 1927. His death was attributed to “prematurity.”
Lee Stone was born in November 1927 and died in January 1928 of an “enlarged thymus.”
Daisy Louise Pickard was three months old in June 1926 when she also passed away from “enlargement of thymus.”
Angus McLean died in January 1926 at five months of “thymic hyperplasia.”
Carroll Patterson (“Billy”) was born in July 1968 to Opal Breedlove Patterson. He died in September of the same year from “overwhelming infection (crib death)”.
John Jones, the son of Sandra Jones of Florida, was born and died in December 1967 of congestive heart disease.
Billie Spangler, aged 4 months, died in March 1931 due to “prematurity and broncho-pneumonia.”
Maude West, 3 months old, died of “gastroenteritis and intestinal [illegible].” Her mother’s name was listed also as Maude West.
Only one grave in this section gave indication that anyone had ever been to visit, the grave of Jefferey who died in 2002 according to the marker. Someone had left grave offerings including a boxed toy car, an angel, and flowers.
The remaining graves in the plot are included in this collage. They are not spaced like this in the cemetery, of course.