Old Smithville Burying Ground
When you think of a cemetery in a horror movie, typically you think of a foggy night with old dilapidated headstones leaning over and two-hundred year old oak trees hovering. Well, if this is what you imagine then the Old Smithville Burying Ground has stepped out of the movie screen. This resting place has very notable figures in our region’s history. Despite the description this is a must see for history buffs and families alike in Southport.
One distinguished individual resting here is General Robert Howe (1732-1786). Born in Brunswick County, Howe was a military man who became the captain of Fort Johnston in 1766. Howe moved up the ranks to become major-general, controlling the Southern Department of North Carolina. Being the highest ranked officer in the South he was honored to serve with General George Washington in 1780 on the Hudson River. Before he could secure his seat in North Carolina’s State Legislature he was ravaged with fever and died on November 12th, 1786. His gravestone acts as a remembrance of what he has done for North Carolina.
There are not only headstones here but monuments of people who have been lost to the sea. One such monument is the one devoted to the people of the boat “Mary K. Sprunt.” This Cape Fear Pilot boat was put into use in February of 1876. On April 12th, 1877 this boat and three other pilot boats went out to sea. Then one day later on Friday the 13th, a large storm brewed, two of the three boats went missing, the Mary K. Sprunt and the Timmons. Four days afterwards the Timmons surfaced almost intact. The Mary K. Sprunt did not fare as well. Captain Charles Dosher and four other people aboard were never found. The Sprunt Monument was erected in their memory and stands today in the Old Smithville Burying Ground.
This place has something to offer everyone. From the person who likes to stroll through history to the person who loves to be scared by the ghosts of the past. Make sure to put The Old Smithville Burying Ground on your “To-Do List,” we are sure your family will enjoy its fun and historic value.