One of the things that really interested me when I visited the North End Cemetery the other day was the walled off Jewish Cemetery. I didn’t get to explore it though as the sign by the entrance says, “Code of Conduct. Please note that all visitors to the cemetery must wear appropriate dress. Men and women must cover their heads”. Turned out I didn’t even have a cap in my car so I went no further than the door. I did do a bit of a search on the net for more info and found some interesting info.
The first interesting tidbit I discovered was that the cemetery was referred to as the Creek Jewish Cemetery. Looking at an early layout diagram of the cemetery the creek next to it is quite prominently indicated. Now I’m wondering, was the North End Cemetery not perhaps referred to as the Creek Cemetery in the early days? Something to look into a bit more.
Land for the North End Cemetery was set aside in 1861 and the cemetery was laid out in 1863. As early as 31 July 1861 the Council received a letter of application for a piece of land in the newly granted North End Cemetery. At that stage the Jewish community had to go to great expense to convey bodies to Grahamstown for burial in the Jewish Cemetery there.
A report in the “Eastern Province Herald” dated 31 July 1863 states: “The Jewish Burial Ground at Creek has been used for the first time on the occasion of the burial of the child of Mr. E.H. Solomon on Wednesday, 29 July 1863.” The grave of this child, Aaron Solomon aged 8 years, is to be found in Row 4 of Section A. The other graves in that row cover the period up to 1871 and include one for 1903. This indicates that burials did not take place in a specific order and that they seem to have worked from the “center” out which is usual for all cemeteries of that period.