The Lost Graveyard

Colonel John Wilson…

Col. John Wilson of Dan’s Hill was one of Pittsylvania County’s wealthiest and most prominent early citizens.  He was born abt. 1740 and died in Pittsylvania County in 1820.  He owned thousands of acres of land and numerous slaves.  In 1778, he was appointed County Lieutenant for Pittsylvania.  This office carried the rank of Colonel, along with much authority over military and civilian affairs during the American Revolution.  At his death, he willed his home “Dan’s Hill” to his seventh son Robert Wilson, who was born in 1789.

The Mystery…

On a visit with Col. Robert Wilson in 1852, Capt. John Noble of Danville wrote in his daybook of stopping with Robert to visit the grave site of Col. John Wilson.  He wrote, “Went to the Littery of the Dead, the burial place of —- Col Jno Wilson, Early my Friend and continued to his death the same”

Capt. Noble drew this small sketch of the graveyard, beside which he wrote “Trasing the lines on Jno Wilson’s Tomb Col. Rob Wept, Bitterly — — for Grief”.

The location of this cemetery is unknown!

From Capt. Noble’s sketch, it appears to have contained six to eight graves in 1852 and to have been surrounded by a fence (most likely iron, considering the wealth and status of the family, but possibly wooden).

If you have any information about the location of this graveyard, please post a comment below.


  • Danny Ricketts.  Danny is an extremely knowledgeable local historian who loaned me a huge stack of files he’d compiled on the Wilson family.  This included copies from the original pages of Capt. John Noble’s journal/daybook.  He also wrote a letter to the editor about this lost cemetery that was published in the Danville Register & Bee.