The Joshua Barnes graveyard.

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In 1918, Annie H. Branch, widow of Alpheus P. Branch Jr., sold the farm that had been owned by her husband’s grandfather, General Joshua Barnes. The ubiquitous Virginia-based Atlantic Coast Realty prepared a plat map of the property, dividing it into fifteen parcels. A road, split into a Y at its top end on the map (which is oriented south to north) was the spine of the Barnes/Branch property. The family’s house is shown just below the joinder of the Y’s arms. Within them, a saw mill and graveyard.

Was this the Joshua Barnes graveyard in which undertakers Wootten & Stevens buried several African-Americans, including Susan Parker and Thomas Hardy in 1897?

A modern aerial of the area readily reveals the Barnes house, the roads (London Church Road and Corbett Avenue), and the canal boundary, but no evidence of a cemetery (or a sawmill). Was it moved? Plowed under? What happened to it and when?

Plat book 1, page 65, Register of Deeds Office, Wilson; aerial map courtesy of Google Maps.

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