The historic Piney Grove cemetery in Swannanoa contains some of the oldest grave markers in Buncombe County. The cemetery is the final resting place for members of many of the Valley’s founding families, along with veterans of four wars, including the Revolutionary War. The parents of Ruth Bell Graham (Billy Graham’s wife, who passed away in 2007) are buried there, as is Dr. Dan Iverson, who wrote the popular hymn “Spirit of the Living God.”
The cemetery, which dates to the early 1800s and has over 1,700 gravesites, sits on the sloping hillsides that surround the First Presbyterian Church of Swannanoa, located at 372 Bee Tree Road. First Presbyterian was the oldest continually-operating church in Buncombe County until it closed in 2014 due to dwindling attendance. The church building remains for sale, but the surrounding cemetery was separated from the church and is managed by a nonprofit corporation with a volunteer board.
The Piney Grove Cemetery board has recently launched a campaign to increase awareness of the historical significance of the cemetery, and to solicit the community’s help to raise funds for its upkeep. Although many individuals have supported the cemetery with financial contributions in recent years, expenses continue to exceed income.
To address the funding shortfall, the board is reaching out to the community to help preserve and protect this historic treasure for generations to come. If you’d like to help, please make your check payable to Piney Grove Cemetery, Inc., and mail it to PO Box 216, Swannanoa, NC 28778. Piney Grove is a 501(c)(13); donations are tax deductible.
If you’d like to visit the cemetery, it’s open to the public and is surrounded by a walking path.