The first colored cemetery.

Modern conventional wisdom holds that Rountree cemetery was the first organized resting place for Wilson’s African-American dead. As I noted here though, Oakdale (also called Oaklawn) cemetery, located south of the stemmeries in Little Richmond predated Rountree.

The cemetery was established by town commissioners about 1895, and Wootten & Stevens undertakers were burying bodies there — at “colored cemetery” or Oakdale cemetery — regularly in the late 1890s.

2

Wilson Advance, 4 July 1895.

Lying hard by Stantonsburg Street, the southern route into town, the colored cemetery was a well-known landmark in turn-of-the-century Wilson.

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Wilson Times, 15 July 1910.

However, the site was not propitious and, less than 15 years after it was laid out, poor drainage conditions were leading to complaints.

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Wilson Times, 12 December 1911.

 The cemetery remained listed in the 1912 Wilson City directory:screen-shot-2017-02-17-at-6-24-57-pm

Though the record is not clear, it seems that burials ceased at Oaklawn by the mid-1920s. This 1923 plat of land sold for development by D.C. Suggs shows the gap the graveyard created in proposed grid of lots.

Plans_Page_06.jpg

At least some, and presumably all, the graves at Oaklawn were disinterred and moved a few miles east to Rountree or Rest Haven cemetery.

——

  • Blount Moore — In the 1912 Wilson city directory, Blount Moore was listed as keeper of Oaklawn cemetery, residing at 401 Wiggins Street. Bryant Moore, a laborer, was listed at the same address.

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