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HEARTS Presents Sacred Grounds ‘23 and So Much More

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

On August 19th from 2:00-5:00 PM in the Cedar Grove parlor learn about some of the oldest burial sites in Iredell, Lincoln, Rowan, and North Mecklenburg at HEARTS Sacred Grounds ‘23. This month’s HEARTS (History, Ecology, Arts, Reunion, Trails, Store) event features a panel of esteemed local historians, educators, authors, and historic preservation advocates sharing their expertise on the known and unknown cemeteries of early settlers and enslaved people in our region. In addition, recent findings will be shared regarding the burial sites of some of the formerly enslaved people who continued to work at Cedar Grove after emancipation. Tickets are free, but registration is requested at


From left to right:

  • Betty Jane (Bee Jay) Caldwell, author, re-enactor, community activist, and historic preservation advocate sharing North Mecklenburg African American burial site history.

  • Dr. Gary Freeze, retired professor of history at Catawba College in Salisbury, specializing in the history of the North Carolina Piedmont and offering insights into Rowan’s historic Thyatira and Third Creek churches and cemeteries.

  • Jason Harpe, Public Historian/Director of Cemetery Conservation at Richard Grubb and Associates, Inc, sharing nuggets on Lincoln County’s and North Mecklenburg’s most historic burial sites.

  • Joel Reese, Local History Librarian for the Iredell County Library, sharing the history of Iredell County’s oldest known burial ground, the historic Fourth Creek Cemetary. In addition, joined by Dr. Lisa Mozer, educator, and historic preservation leader, they’ll share new GPR (ground penetrating radar) findings from the historic Green Cemetary, a notable burial site of emancipated enslaved people in Statesville, NC.

David Strassberg and Amanda Gentile on violin, Kirsten Allen on viola, and Liz Burns on cello performing in the Cedar Grove parlor.

Before the panel presentation, we’re delighted to present thematically related chamber music from local classical musicians David Strassberg and Amanda Gentile on violin, Kirsten Allen on viola, and Liz Burns on cello.

Julia Rogers from Blackberry Ridge Farm will share this month's eco-minutes on the interesting and historic roles of periwinkle and yucca in burial sites.

"Ancestral Guardian" by Micaila Ayorinde (Ayo)

In addition, the visual art exhibit entitled, “Cultivating the Sacred Nature of Belonging," featuring the art of Micaila Ayorinde (Ayo). The collaborative mask created by Ayo and guests at the July HEARTS Happening will also be on display in the Cedar Grove hallway.

The Hugh Torance House and Store is one of Mecklenburg County’s few surviving 18th-century structures and NC's oldest standing store. On the event day, the Store will be open from 2:00-5:30 for tours offering new local artisan crafts and sundries. Our new historic foodways team is offering guests an interactive experience at the Store to grind the coffee, beans, spices, herbs, corn, churn butter, help make sauerkraut, string apples, and green beans. These were important chores that helped families prepare for the cold winter months.

HEARTS Happenings are monthly, place-based, community gatherings featuring music, arts, and lectures exploring local history, nature, and our shared sense of place. This event and all HEARTS Happenings are free to the community through the Hugh Torance House and Store, a local 501c3 nonprofit. HEARTS Circle membership along with corporate sponsors and dedicated volunteers make HEARTS Happenings possible in these incredible historic places and further the HEARTS mission of historic preservation, ecological conservation, and forging community connections in our region.

Please Join Us

Help us continue our programs by becoming a HEARTS member, or if you’ve already joined, invite a friend or give a gift of membership to support our region’s deep history, rich nature, and many talented artists. The HEARTS Circle annual membership drive is underway, and this year our new and existing members are in for an incredible treat, featuring the gift of a spectacular private evening on September 16, 2023, featuring nationally acclaimed singer-songwriter Nicole Atkins. Atkins’ style ranges from crooner music to psychedelia to soul music. In addition, guests will be treated to behind-the-scenes tours of Cedar Grove and a buffet dinner featuring gourmet local farm fare.

Memberships range from student through corporate levels with each level offering various levels of tickets and benefits. Click here to join today and join us to continue the vital work needed to preserve and share our region's history.

"Stream Near Harpers Creek," by Elizabeth Bradford

Mark Your Calendars Now

Save the date for two more HEARTS ‘23 events thanks to our HEARTS Circle members. Presenting HEARTS Harvest ‘23 featuring a one-day show of the intricate and expressive nature paintings of visual artist Elizabeth Bradford on November 18, 2023, at Cedar Grove. Bradford is a descendant of the historic Bradford farm of Huntersville, NC. The harvest event features historic farms and families, and the ongoing preservation and conservation efforts of farms in our region along with live music.

On December 9th, HEARTS Winter Wisdom presents David Fleming, author of “Who’s Your Founding Father?” Fleming will share his fascinating evidence of the Mecklenburg County patriots ahead of their time in their declaration of independence from Great Britain on May 20, 1775. Following Fleming’s lecture will be a book signing and live music.

For more information, visit, email, or call (704) 920-9931. The historic Hugh Torance House and Store is located at 8231 Gilead Road, Huntersville, NC 28078.

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