I found Sharpsburg Cemetery. And wow. Though it was active into the late 1990s, it has nearly completely reverted to woodland, with dozens and dozens of headstones standing above the forest floor, many in nearly pristine condition. Unlike wisteria-choked Rountree and Odd Fellows, however, these woods are easily traversed, though covered in naturalized English ivy.
The cemetery is on the Nash County side of Sharpsburg, down a gated track. It appears from county records to be privately owned. Its families lived in Nash, Edgecombe, and Wilson Counties, and I took photos with an eye for representation rather than Wilson residency. I’ll probably make a return visit when I’ve been able to study its known burials.
The gate threw me for a minute. But only a minute.
The open area at the front of the cemetery. The oldest part of the cemetery appears to be an area to the south deep inside the treeline.
Headstones, saplings, and grapevines. There was some trash at the site, but nothing to indicate it has ever been a dumpsite like Odd Fellows and Rountree. This clearly was a generally well-tended cemetery until perhaps 20 to 25 years ago.
- Maggie Armstrong
In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Ernest Taylor, 49; wife Lela, 47; and children Lawrence, 18, Billie, 16, Carrie, 14, Addie, 12, Lee, 11, Lela, 8, Mary, 7, Thomas, 6, Maggie, 4, Nellie, 3, and Robert, 2; and brother Fred, 20.
In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Ernest Taylor, 49; wife Lalar, 47; and children Tomie, 16, Maggie, 15, Mollie, 13, Robert, 11, Ona, 9, Blanche, 8, Roscar, 6, James, 5, and Daisy, 1.
On 30 December 1932, Richard Armstrong, 21, of Jarratt, Virginia, son of Gus Armstrong and William Ann Turner, and Maggie Taylor, 21, of Sharpsburg, N.C., daughter of Ernest Taylor and Lala Anderson, were married in Greensville County, Virginia.
In the 1940 census of Lower Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Richard Armstrong, 28; wife Maggie, 25; and children Earnest M., 6, Lawrence W., 5, Ivy Lee, 3, and Grady Earl, 1; widowed mother William Ann Armstrong, 68; and niece Mary Jeane McQueen, 15. Maggie and Mary Jeane had been Wilson County residents in 1935.
Maggie Armstrong died 11 February 1942 in Wilson, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 1 April 1915 in Wilson County to Ernest Taylor and Lala Anderson; was married to Richard Armstrong; was engaged in farming; and resided in Sharpsburg, Edgecombe County. She was buried in Nash County by S.E. Hemby, Fountain, N.C.
- Ernest and Lalar Taylor, “Death is but life. Weep not.”
Ernest and Lalar Taylor were buried under a classic Clarence Best-carved double headstone.
In the 1900 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farmer Robert Anderson, 60; wife Margaret, 58; and children Lanie V., 21, Francis, 19, Lala, 17, Charlie, 15, and Lee E., 14, and grandson Luther, 8 months.
Oon 8 January 1902, Ernest Taylor, 22, son of Caroline Taylor, married Lila Anderson, 19, daughter of Bob and Margaret Anderson, in Toisnot township, Wilson County.
In the 1910 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: Earnest Taylor, 29; wife Lalar, 25; children Lawrence, 8, Lula, 7, Billie, 6, Carry, 4, Eddie B., 3, Lee E., 2, and May B., 2 months; and sister Hattie, 17.
Lalar Taylor died 12 March 1942 in Rocky Mount, Nash County, N.C. Per her death certificate, she was born 21 June 1883 in Nash County to Robert Anderson and Margaret Rice; and was buried in Sharpsburg Cemetery by S.E. Hemby, Fountain, N.C.
Earnest Taylor died 4 December 1961 in Rocky Mount, Nash County, N.C. Per his death certificate, he was born 10 May 1880 in Wilson County to Caroline [maiden name unknown] and worked as a farmer.
- Turner Joyner
For reasons that are not apparent to me, Simon E. Hemby was the undertaker of choice for many families in Sharpsburg Cemetery in the 1930s and ’40s. Hemby’s business (which is still in operation as Hemby-Willoughby) was in Fountain, Pitt County — some 21, two-lane miles away from Sharpsburg. Amazingly the temporary metal marker Hemby placed at Turner Joyner’s grave in 1938 is still legible.
In the 1880 census of Rocky Mount township, Nash County: farmer Jason Joyner, 40; wife Milbry, 44; and sons Hawood, 16, Nevison, 13, and Turner, 12.
On 18 December 1889, Turner Joyner, 22, married Martha Pittman, 19, at Evelina Pittman’s in Nash County.
In the 1900 census of Sharpsburg town, Rocky Mount township, Nash County: day laborer Turner Joyner, 30; wife Martha A., 26; and children William S.T., 8, Ella, 6, Billie, 3, and Minnie S., 1.
In 1918, Bill Joyner registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County. Per his registration card, he was born 9 December 1896 in Sharpsburg; was a cropper for Dr. Barnes “near cor. limits of Sharpsburg”; and his nearest relatives were father Turner Joyner and wife Emma Joyner.
In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Turner Joyner, 52; wife Martha, 48; and children S.T., 27, Mary, 25, Maggie, 18, Annie, 15, Mamie, 13, Eva, 10, and Grady, 2.
In the 1930 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farmer Turner Joyner, 61; wife Martha, 56; daughter Annie C. Clark, 26, and children J.C., 7, James, 5, and S.T., 4.
Turner Joyner died 10 August 1938 in Sharpsburg, Township #14, Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was born 20 September 1873 in Nash County to Jason Joyner and Milba Joyner; was the widower of Martha Joyner; and was buried in Sharpsburg by S.E. Hemby.
- Harry Williams, “He Is Gone, But Not Forgotten”
You know I love a headstone artist, and Sharpsburg Cemetery contains many examples of the grave markers produced by this unknown person. He (almost surely) worked in concrete, stamping letters and numbers with a die or punch and incising elaborate floral designs with wedge-shaped elements. My guess is that this was a Nash or Edgecombe County artist, as I have not encountered this type of headstone in Wilson County cemeteries.
In the 1910 census of Township #14, Edgecombe County: farmer Harry Williams, 51; wife Mollie, 39; and children Mandonie, 17, Mack, 16, Starka, 13, Turner, 11, Harry Jr., 9, Paul, 7, and Silas, 3.
On 11 February 1920, Harry Williams, 21, of Toisnot township, Wilson County, son of Harry and Mollie Williams, married Mamie Justice, 21, of Toisnot township, daughter of Preston and Carrie Justice, in Elm City, Wilson County.
In the 1920 census of Toisnot township, Wilson County: farm laborer Harry Williams, 22, and wife Mamie, 19.
Harry Williams died 1 July 1928 in Sharpsburg, Township #14, Edgecombe County. Per his death certificate, he was 30 years old; was born in Edgecombe County to Harry Williams and Mollie Lawrence; worked as a farmer; and was buried in Sharpsburg cemetery. Mondon Williams was informant.
- Lillie Bell Williams
Lillie Bell Williams died 7 April 1929 in Toisnot township, Wilson County. Per her death certificate, she was born 23 October 1928 in Wilson County to Paul Williams and Gladys Howard and was buried in Nash County.
- Jacob C. Bellamy
This appears to be the headstone of the Jacob Bellamy who was born 1891 to James H. and Cherry Bellamy and lived in Edgecombe County. It is a lovely little marble stone in an older area of the cemetery that is overgrown with English ivy.
- Eskimo Parker
The delightfully named Eskimo Parker, a Nash County native, is one of several veterans whose grave markers are visible in Sharpsburg Cemetery.