An appeal.

I seldom post from a first-person perspective, but beg your indulgence again here. I’m still a little giddy from my talks in Wilson and Goldsboro last week. The turnout and the response of both audiences validated the time and energy I devote to my blogs Black Wide-Awake, Fourth Generation Inclusive, and Scuffalong and renewed my dedication to telling our stories. In Wilson, I received an additional boon by tapping into the collective intelligence of the crowd for some answers to my long-standing questions about the locations of New Grabneck and Oakdale cemetery. To my astonishment, a number of people recalled walking through the abandoned graveyard on their way to the Graded School and thereby opened up a whole new field of inquiry for me. So, I have a favor to ask. If you read this blog regularly — and many of you said you do — please comment on it, or ask questions, or send me tips and pointers, or share your photos and other artifacts of pre-World War II black Wilson County. By crowdsourcing, I hope to tap caches I wouldn’t otherwise have access to and share them with all who share my deep love of local history and belief in the importance of its documentation.

Thanks, as always, for your unflagging support, and stay tuned!


  1. I was born in New Grabneck Feb ’48. I can’t answer to any earlier period.

    I’m told New Grabneck was a section on Daniel Hill.

  2. I am visiting SC and am intending to do a road trip to the cemetery were my grand (Vivian Grissom Garner), her mom and dad (Herman Grissom, a barber who died in the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918 and Lydia Ruth Meeks Grissom Coley, a teacher) and her grandmother, Hattie Grissom, are buried. They were all members of the AMEZ church, lived @201 Vick, and were buried by cousin Darden.Where might they be?

  3. Uh oh, forgot to say they are buried somewhere right outside of Wilson.BTW, lived with Vivian’s sister and her husband, Dorothy Grissom Parker and Alton Brooklyn Parker in Goldsboro..was in a Catholic school there the year JFK was killed. Both were in the public school system, and both were respected members of AKA and Omega.

    1. Hi, Debra. Per her death cert, Lydia was buried in Rest Haven cemetery. Vivian, who died in 1988, would also have been buried in Rest Haven. Herman died in 1921. His death cert only lists “Wilson NC” as place of burial, but I am willing to bet he was buried in Rountree cemetery. If Hattie died prior to World War II, she is likely in Rountree cemetery, too. Unfortunately, as my posts here have detailed, Rountree was abandoned in the early 1960s and there is little trace of the 1000s of burials there. I have a compilation of Rest Haven burials published by the Wilson County Genealogical Society. I’ll check it later today to see if I can find gravesite locations for the relatives you’re seeking. If you have photographs of the Grissoms that you are willing to share, I’d love to post them at Black Wide-Awake. Safe travels.

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