Lane Street Project: a volume compiling burials in Rountree and Vick (and Rest Haven) cemeteries.

In 2015, culminating a years-long project headed by Joan L. Howell, the Wilson County Genealogical Society published Wilson County Cemeteries, Vol. V: The Two City-Owned African-American Cemeteries, containing alphabetical listings of 11,472 burials in Rest Haven cemetery and 650 burials in “Rountree-Vick” cemetery.

Howell’s book is an invaluable resource for Wilson County researchers and — as far as we know — the sole list of burials in Rountree-Vick. Nonetheless, it’s worthwhile to assess this compilation in the light of recent discoveries concerning these cemeteries.

Confronted with the empty expanse of the Rountree-Vick memorial ground, Howell undertook an exhaustive search of death certificates filed in the Wilson County registrar’s office, abstracting all that gave “Rountree cemetery,” “Vick cemetery,” or “paupers cemetery” as the place of burial. An examination of the resulting list makes clear that these burials were in Rountree, Vick and Odd Fellows cemeteries, which are contiguous, but separately owned, graveyards. And the list is incomplete.

Vick and Odd Fellows cemeteries were in use by the late 1800s, and Rountree by 1900. Rest Haven, established in the mid-1930s, became the city’s primary black cemetery in the 1940s. The overwhelming majority of burials listed for Rountree-Vick in this volume date from the 1940s. There are a smattering of burials from the late 1930s, the 1950s, and even 1960 and 1961. However, because North Carolina did not require death certificates until 1914, and death certificates did not list burial locations with specificity until around World War II, the first forty or so years of burials in Rountree, Vick, and Odd Fellows are difficult to chronicle.

So, how many people are buried in Vick, Rountree and Odd Fellows? A 1995 Wilson Daily Times article estimated 1300.  However, given that at least 600 were laid to rest here in the 1940s alone, this is surely a vast understatement. We may never arrive at a definitive number, but we can augment Howell’s list. I will start with a list of people whose burial in Rountree, Vick or Odd Fellows is memorialized by an existing headstone and continue with a list of people whose burial place is noted in a published obituary. Do you know of a family member buried in one these cemeteries? If so, please let me know. If I find that they are not listed in Howell’s book, they will be added to a third list. Thanks for your help.

Interested in purchasing a copy of Howell’s volume?  You can order one at


  1. My grandmother Maggie Jones Williams on her death certificate it states that she was buried in the Colored Odd Fellows Cemetery. She died in May 1916 in Bethel NC. My grandfather’s family was from Wilson, NC mostly. However on her death certificate it states that her name is Mag Williams. I think that’s what the informant Stanley Barnhill called her.

      1. Joseph B. Williams. His mother was Mary Barnhill father Brister Williams. My great grandmother Matilda Williams lived in Wilson died there too. Death certificate said the age was 125,but I think it was really 100.

    1. Her parents were Barry Jones and Gadsy Jenkins. She was a twin born January 7,1872. Her twin brother was Barry Jones Jr.

  2. My great grandfather, John L. Simms Sr, was buried in the Roundtree cemetery according to his death certificate, in 1942.

  3. My great great aunt, Lucy Simms Woodard died on 11/29/1929. Her death certificate also states Roundtree cemetery as the burial location.

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