William Peace University Donates $10,000
To Raleigh City Cemeteries Preservation, Inc.
Donation To Help Restore Grave Markers Of Institute’s Founder, William Peace,
And His Family As Part Of Group’s Conservation Work
RALEIGH, N.C. – William Peace University (http://www.peace.edu), a private four-year university located in downtown Raleigh, has announced a $10,000 donation to Raleigh City Cemeteries Preservation, Inc. (RCCP) for the restoration of the grave site and markers of William Peace, founder of the institute, and his family. With this gift, RCCP will be able to complete a large part of the conservation work that is needed at City Cemetery, located at 17 S. East Street.
Peace was a respected Raleigh businessman and church elder who pledged $10,000 to the Rev. Joseph M. Atkinson in trust for the First Presbyterian Church in the mid-19th century. The gift was used to establish the Peace Institute. The Civil War interrupted construction of the university’s Main Building, when the Confederate government used it as a military hospital. After the war, the federal government used the building as the North Carolina headquarters for the Freedmen’s Bureau, which helped former slaves establish new lives. Peace Institute opened its doors to full-time instruction in 1872.
City Cemetery was established by the N.C. General Assembly in 1798, making it the oldest public cemetery in Raleigh. It is located on 7.68 acres bordered by East, New Bern and Hargett streets. In addition to Peace, noted burials include founding fathers of Raleigh, legislators, African-Americans slaves and free men and women, and stone masons from Scotland and England who helped construct the state Capitol building.
Founded in 2006, RCCP is a 501 (C) 3 non-profit that partners with the City of Raleigh and others to promote and provide preservation and restoration of the three city-owned historic public cemeteries: City Cemetery, Mt. Hope Cemetery and O’Rorke Cemetery.
“The City Cemetery holds an incredible amount of Raleigh’s history, and it is important that the entire community join together in order to preserve this site,” said Debra M. Townsley, Ph.D., president of William Peace University. “William Peace University has served as part of Raleigh for more than 150 years, and we are excited to assist in keeping the history of our city alive as we continue to grow. It is an honor to provide support to the Raleigh City Cemeteries Preservation and to help restore the William Peace grave site and family markers.”
“The leaders of William Peace University have made a very generous donation to our preservation efforts of the City Cemetery in Raleigh, and we are thankful for their support,” said Jane B. Thurman, president of RCCP. “With their contribution to our restoration work at the Peace plot, we will be able to complete the second phase of the conservation work at the site. This cemetery represents an important part of our city’s legacy. We hope that additional members of the community will join us in our efforts to complete this project, preservation of a large area that many recognize as the centerpiece of City Cemetery.”
“We are so grateful for the support and donation from William Peace University as the Raleigh City Cemeteries Preservation works to restore City Cemetery,” said Sean Peace, a living relative of William Peace. “Just as William Peace played an integral role in the establishment of the institute, the university now plays a key role in developing the future leaders of our city, state and country. He would have loved to have the school named in his honor, and I am glad that the university is helping his keep his memory alive.”
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