Like many small rural churches, the early members of Stantonsburg’s Bethel A.M.E. Zion were drawn largely from a group of related families. At their core was the large extended family of William Henry Hall, whose family plot in the church cemetery was profiled here.
The cemetery, about a mile from the present location of the church, is set along a slight rise above the cut of Peacock Bridge Road, just south of the Norfolk & Southern railroad. It is lovingly tended despite its isolation, with most of the graves lying in sandy bays extending back from the unpaved road. Foxgrape vines and sassafras saplings edge the clearings, and rose bushes have naturalized among the trees.
Besides William Hall, among the earliest marked burials are:
Dick Barnes married Quilla Joyner on 10 February 1870 in Wayne County, North Carolina. (The county line is just a few miles west of Stantonsburg.) In the 1880 census of Black Creek township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, 38, wife Aqulla, 33, and children Edward C., 9, William H.M., 8, Lewis H., 6, Maryland, 5, and Corneleous, 4. In the 1900 census of Stantonsburg township, Wilson County: farmer Richard Barnes, (second) wife Gracey, 23, and children Peter, 23, Cornelius, 21, Mary S., 18, Geneva, 16, John H., 14, and Barnie, 7, and boarder Addison Fort, 17.
and William M. Hardy, who lived a few miles away over the Greene County line.