The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina



Newton Academy Cemetery

The two-acre wooded knoll called Newton Academy Cemetery is a quiet refuge of the past located just off busy Biltmore Avenue in the heart of Asheville. The graveyard is being preserved by the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina as part of a unique gift agreement. The historic cemetery was part of the Newton Academy property, which was donated in 1990 to the Community Foundation by the Forster-Stevens Trustees, led by Asheville attorney John S. Stevens. Through a court order, the Community Foundation was charged with restoring, preserving and maintaining the cemetery property for future generations.

Brief History

This burial site was established circa 1818 and is adjacent to the original location of one of Asheville's earliest schools. The Community Foundation conducted a mapping and research project in the early 1990's, led by Archaeologist Dr. C. Michael Baker, that revealed these significant facts about the Newton Academy Cemetery:

    The cemetery includes the graves of notable Asheville natives such as James McConnell Smith (cited as the first child born of white parentage west of the Blue Ridge Mountains and an ancestor of the Smith-McDowell family), George Swain (father of Governor David L. Swain), and numerous members of the Stevens, Patton, and Alexander families.

    Both Confederate and Union markers have been erected, which are believed to be  memorial stones for Western North Carolina soldiers who died in the Civil War but their bodies were never returned to Asheville.

    The cemetery includes 210 marked gravesites and more than 85 unmarked graves, which are indicated by indentations in the ground. The graves and other physical elements of the property are indicated on a blueprint map created by Dr. Baker.  

Visiting the Cemetery

The Newton Academy Cemetery is located at the northeast corner of the intersection of Biltmore and Unadilla Avenues. It is open daily to the public by accessing the pedestrian gate. We ask visitors to be respectful of the stones and the property. No rubbings are allowed due to concerns about deterioration of the stones and visitor safety. The gravestones are very heavy and any contact with them at all - sitting or leaning - could be dangerous to both stones and people. Please also refrain from littering.

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For More Information
We encourage exploration of the cemetery property and the related history. For those interested in learning more about the cemetery, historical documentation and detailed
maps of the site are available at the following locations:

Pack Memorial Library, North Carolina Collection                                    

67 Haywood Street

Asheville, NC 28801


Library hours are: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday

10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday

10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday

Closed on Sunday

Note: You may wish to call ahead and confirm that you can get access to the North Carolina Collection archives prior to visiting the library.

Old Buncombe County Genealogical Society

Innsbruck Mall

85 Tunnel Road, Suite 22

Asheville, NC 28805 


Hours of operation: 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. & 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Monday
                              9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday through Friday

                              9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday

                              Closed on Sunday

A Word About the Community Foundation

The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina is a community trust established in 1978 to enable citizens to make gifts - large and small - to benefit our 18-county region. We manage nearly 700 charitable funds that support non-profit organizations in meeting community needs. While the cemetery property was an unusual gift, our commitment to its ongoing restoration and maintenance is in keeping with our organizational charter to preserve resources for future generations of Western North Carolinians. We are pleased to act as stewards of this historic treasure.

Revised 10/17/02