Saving the Salvo Cemetery

Jenny Creech has been an OBR employee of over 7 years, a life-long Hatteras Islander, and a former community leader of the Hatteras Island Genealogical Historical Society. Recently, her efforts have contributed to saving the Salvo Cemetery. In 2013, Jenny and her cousins went out to visit their great-great-grandparents, along with several of her great-uncles, and great-aunts who are all buried at the Salvo Cemetery.

Jenny helps to fasten the banner that depicts the genealogy of family members buried at Salvo as well as highlighting the problems the cemetery has faced in recent years due to erosion rise in sea levels.

How it began

For many years now, the area has become vulnerable to Island erosion and is becoming submerged due to the rise in sea levels. High levels of foot traffic have only expedited the process, and as a result, some of the exposed tombs were found being used as tables and holding things like fishing gear and picnic supplies. It was at this point Jenny and her cousins decided to start brainstorming ways to make a change.

The Islands’ cemeteries, such as the one in Salvo, carry a lot of the area’s history, lineage, and memory for many of the surviving relatives who live here today.

What started out as a personal initiative for Jenny and her cousins, grew to involve a team of other active community members, several of which also had relatives buried at Salvo. With the help of this team and the Genealogical Preservation Society, the group was able to raise donations and receive enough grants to be able to fund, plan, and execute a restoration project that was needed to save the cemetery.

Saving the Salvo Cemetery

For 2 years, Jenny and the team met and collaborated their efforts with other organizations, such as CAMA and National Park Services. Other subsequent initiatives involved regular cemetery clean-ups and conducting research on the expansive genealogy of the Island. In 2018 the permits were all cleared, construction begun, and in September 2021 the group celebrated their novel feat; the community-led preservation and reconstruction of the Salvo Cemetery.

For Jenny, this project was more of a personal accomplishment. It was a way to honor her loved ones and prevent the recreational activities occurring on, and around, the graves of her relatives.

For the Island, this was a great accomplishment heralding the strength of the community’s resolve as well as the confidence needed to pursue the sustainable projects that allow the Island to endure.

OBR is so very proud to have people like Jenny who inspire positive change and motivate the OBR team as well as the Island. Good job Jenny, and congratulations on your accomplishment!

Jenny Creech in her office in Waves

Come visit Salvo on Hatteras Island and stop by our Waves office to say “Hey” to Jenny!

To read the Island Free Press’s coverage of this story visit

Share this post