Olivet Cemetery is located on Winchester Avenue, perched atop a hill which overlooks the entire town. Since its earliest function in the Revolutionary War period to the present, the cemetery is the backdrop for the history of Hardy County.
The Cemetery itself houses both Revolutionary War and Civil War era graves. One of the town's early founder, George Harness, was the first person to be buried there in 1816. On September 10, 1863, a Civil War battle began in Olivet Cemetery, as Union troops, using the site as a campground were attacked by Confederate soldiers. The Union position was soon overrun and Confederate troops were able to capture 160 men as well as supplies and weaponry. Today, the trenches are in-tact and can be toured.
In 1895, United Daughters of the Confederacy celebrated Decoration Day to salute Confederate Soldiers buried in Olivet. This tradition lasted until 1920, when the town marked its last wreathing and memorial service to the Confederate Soldiers.
The existence of Oak Hill Cemetery, the “black” cemetery, adjacent to Olivet, speaks to the informal town policy of racial segregation which was continued well into the 1980s. While never sanctioned in a town ordinance, this policy was simply followed as a matter of tradition. However, inadvertently, funeral home owner, John Elmore integrated the cemetery in 1987. The Cemetery Board of Directors tried to maintain segregated areas within the cemetery, but the floodgates had opened.