Teneriffe Slave Cemetery

This was an article in the Hendersonville Times-News written by Jennie Jones Giles in 2006.

Buried beneath a house or possibly beneath a pond in front of a house on Little River is a cemetery containing the grave sites of slaves and descendants of slaves.
When Louise Howe Bailey moved to the Little River Road area in 1927, there was a cemetery across the road from the Teneriffe estate.
“It was the burial plot for the servants of Teneriffe,” she said.
At that time, the estate was owned by the Vincent family. The original summer estate was built between 1852 and 1855 by Dr. J.G. Shoolbred. In 1883, the estate became the property of Charles Albert Hill, a cotton broker from New Orleans. In 1903, it was owned by Hugh Delacy Vincent, also a New Orleans cotton broker.
Local schoolchildren in the 1930s and 1940s, walking along Little River Road to school at Flat Rock, remember passing by a house owned by a black woman. The woman would invite the children into her home after school for a glass of buttermilk and a piece of cornbread.
Near the house was a cemetery, containing several rows of graves. The children, now adults, remember being told there were slaves and descendants of slaves buried in this cemetery.
The black family living in the house had the last name of Williams, Bailey said.
“J.C. Williams was a butler for numerous people in Flat Rock,” she said. “The woman who lived there did laundry for people. When I was 12, I remember passing a pony cart with a black woman driving it. She was picking up laundry.”
No one today knows the precise date, but, at some time in the late 1950s, a house was built over the graves.
“My brother told the builder that it was against the law to build over a graveyard,” Bailey said.
The house was built over the cemetery, say Bailey and other longtime residents. It was the late 1950s or early 1960s since the grave stones were last seen by people who lived nearby.
On a trip to the area, Bailey tried to pinpoint the location of the cemetery.
“The Vincent property went all the way out, almost to Pleasant Hill,” Bailey said.
The cemetery was directly across the road from the Teneriffe entrance, Bailey and others say. It was near the corner of Little River Road and Lake Falls Road.
As a child, Bailey remembers that “there was a pasture nearby (the cemetery) and there were two enormous white steers near where I heard people were buried,” she said. “That bothered me. I thought it was just wrong.”