Cemeteries, no. 24: the Barnes family.

We pulled over on the side of the highway here, got out and started trudging along the treeline. The ground was saturated from heavy winter rains, and I had not worn the right shoes. Nonetheless, we traipsed back and forth, looking for the Simon and Penninah Woodard Barnes cemetery.

Barnes/Woodard/Lassiter descendant Bernard Patterson had graciously offered to help me find it. However, the land is no longer family-owned, and he had not been there in many years. We did our best, but a thick growth of broomsedge, prickly smilax vines, and young trees prevented us from locating it.

Penninah was the daughter of London and Penelope Lassiter Woodard. She married Simon Barnes on 1 January 1877 in Wilson County, and they and several generations of their descendants are buried in a family graveyard located off what is now N.C. Highway 42. The photo of Pennie Barnes’ grave, below, was taken during a period in which the plot was cleared. Eastern North Carolina’s climate makes rural cemetery maintenance a serious challenge, especially when graves are located on private property far from paved roads and the cemetery is not in active use for burials.

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Thanks again to Bernard Patterson. Top photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2019; bottom photo courtesy of Roger Barron.

 

2 comments

  1. When I began researching London Woodard finding information on his wife Penelope Lassiter was fascinating a freeborn woman of color who managed to purchase almost 180 acres of land in the 1850s. This occured while her husband was still a slave. She must have been an amazing person!

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    1. Indeed. Like many of my freeborn ancestors, Penny Lassiter leveraged work/personal relationships (in her instance, with her husband’s owner J.B. Woodard) to advantage. She came from a family of landowners and obviously had a shrewd business sense.

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