On Day of the Dead, today we are floating through Ai Cemetery in remembrance of those who are in eternal rest. The Day of the Dead, or El Día de los Muertos, is a holiday akin to Catholicism's All Saints' and All Souls' Days. In Mexico, there is a decidedly indigenous/Aztec flavor to the celebration. The deceased are honored by gathering in homes, at churches, and in cemeteries. It is a time to remember the dearly departed with little offerings of the deceased family member's favorite food, beverages, and with little gifts. It is said that the final death on earth comes when nobody living remembers you.
If such a holiday were celebrated widely in Greensboro, the McGready descendants would be singing and dancing in Ai Cemetery right now. Nancy L. McGready, who was born in 1797 and died in 1858, is buried in this cemetery adjacent to Ai Church. The surname, McGready, is a variant of the Gaelic word meaning "trained" or "expert." The McGready's were some of the early settlers to Guilford County. James McGready migrated to Guilford County from Pennsylvania in 1778 and settled near David Caldwell's congregation. McGready, pious from childhood, became a minister and had congregations in Haw River and Stony Creek.* Now that we've learned about the McGready's, we'll need to return to Ai Cemetery to see if the preacher is buried there. As for where "Ai" got its name, nobody knows for sure.
For more information on Preacher McGready of Guilford County, read chapter 4 of The Great Revival: The beginnings of the Bible Belt by John B. Boles.