Lane Street Project

Lane Street Project: the Mincey family plot.

With donations from readers like you, we were able recently to engage Foster Stone and Cemetery Care to clean and reset markers in the Mincey family plot at Odd Fellows cemetery.

We’ve seen the nearly buried white marble headstones of Prince Mincey and Oscar Mincey, standing a few feet from Benjamin Mincey‘s fire hydrant. Prince Mincey was Ben Mincey’s father, and Oscar, his brother.

Marble headstones are both heavy and fragile, and Foster uses site-built equipment to safely lift them.

Voilà!

The style of Oscar Mincey’s headstone suggests that it was placed shortly after his death in 1906. Prince Mincey’s engraving, however, appears to be machine-cut, suggesting manufacture and placement well after he died in 1902.

Though their grave markers have not yet been found, it seems likely that Prince Mincey’s wife Susan Mincey and Ben Mincey’s wife Mattie Barnes Mincey are buried in the family plot as well.

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In the 1900 census of Wilson town, Wilson township, Wilson County: farmer Prince Mensey, 60; wife Susan, 52; children Ben, 19, Emma, 19, and Oscar, 12; and niece Rosetta Mensey, 7.

Photos courtesy of Billy Foster.

Lane Street Project: thank you!

My deep gratitude to Preservation of Wilson, the ladies of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, the Senior Force (and visiting grandson!), and all who came out for today’s workday!

There are only four scheduled clean-ups left in Season 3. We welcome all organizations to join the work of Lane Street Project in reclaiming and restoring historic Odd Fellows Cemetery. Wilson’s history lies here.

Photo courtesy of Anne Sauerborn Joyner. 

Lane Street Project: the Vick family plot.

The Vick family plot was the nucleus of what is now Odd Fellows Cemetery. It contains five marked graves — Samuel H. Vick, his wife Annie Washington Vick, their daughters Irma and Viola Vick, and his parents Daniel and Fannie Blount Vick — but likely other family members.

With funds crowdsourced from Black Wide-Awake‘s readers, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care has been expertly cleaning, repairing as necessary, and resetting grave markers in Odd Fellows. The past few days, Billy Foster has worked his magic in the Vick family plot.

BEFORE

AFTER

The earliest of these markers belongs to little Viola Leroy Vick, who died in 1897 just before her third birthday.

It is a pretty little headstone, but oddly proportioned and badly in need of cleaning. When Billy Foster began to work on it, he discovered that the two-part base of the stone was completely buried — we’ve only been seeing the stele.

Foster dismantled the headstone.

When he cleaned it and reassembled it, an epitaph came into view on the pedestal:

A light from our household is gone

A voice we loved is stilled

A place is vacant in our hearts

Which never can be filled.

The plinth is also inscribed: Burns & Campbell, Petersburg, Virginia, a prolific firm known as much for its headstones as for constructing Confederate monuments.

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My deep thanks to M. Barnes, R. Breen, S. Brooks, V. Cowan, D. Dawson, D. Gouldin, J. Hackney, J. Hawthorne, B. Henderson, T. Lewis, B. Nevarez, and M. Wrenn for sponsoring headstone repairs. There is more restoration work to be done, and I hope others will donate to support our efforts. 

Lane Street Project: Nunnie Barnes, pt. 2.

Nunnie Barnes‘ striated gray headstone is one of the most striking in Odd Fellows Cemetery. Although the grave marker itself is in good condition, Barnes’ grave was not. With no vault to support it, the soil above her casket subsided and eventually collapsed, leaving a gaping hole. As part of the restoration work they’re doing in Odd Fellows, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care not only reset Nunnie Barnes’ head and foot markers, but filled and leveled her gravesite.

Your generous donations make this type of work possible, and Lane Street Project thanks you.

Photo courtesy of Billy Foster.

Lane Street Project: and another one — Jack Rountree!

Yesterday, while working at Odd Fellows, Billy Foster of Foster Stone and Cemetery Care unearthed two more grave markers. One was blank, but the other was that of Jack Rountree, whose daughter Delzela Rountree is also buried at Odd Fellows. It is likely that his wife Lucille Rountree is there as well.

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In the 1870 census of Bushy Fork township, Person County, North Carolina: farm laborer Henry Rountree, 30; wife Margaret, 20; and son Jack, 6.

On 21 October 1891, Jack Rountree, 30, parents unnamed, and Lucy Bergeron, 20, of Falkland, of Elias and [illegible] Bergeron, were married in Pitt County, North Carolina.

In the 1900 census of Falkland township, Pitt County: farmer Jack Rountree, 49; wife Lucy, 27; and children Julius, 5, Daisy E., 2, and Cora, 2 months; sisters Marcela, 23, Cora, 24, and Ella Bargeron, 26; and boarder Jacob Worthan, 18.

In the 1910 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: on Saratoga Road, farmer Jack Rountree, 53; wife Lucy, 35; and children Junius, 15, Delzel, 12, Cora Lee, 10, John H., 7, James, 6, Mable, 4, and Gollie May, 1.

Daisy L. [sic] Roundtree died 5 August 1914 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born in 1898 to Jack Roundtree and Lucy Body; was single; lived on Stantonsburg Street; and was buried in Wilson [Odd Fellows Cemetery].

In the 1916 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Rountree Jack (c) farmer h Stantonsburg rd extd

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Old Stantonsburg Road, farmer Jack Rountree, 57; wife Lucile, 47; son Julius, 24, daughter-in-law Lida, 23, sons John Henry, 17, and Jesse, 16, daughters Mabel, 14, and Ola May, 10, and married daughter Cora Farmer, 19. [Her husband Paul was working in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.]

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Mason Street, Loucile Roundtree, 52; husband John H., 67, yard gardener; and children Jessie D., 26, plasterer in public buildings; Mable, 22, dressmaking; John H., 27, cotton mill mechanic; Goldie J., 19; and Bertha, 14, “adopted daughter.”

Lucile Elizabeth Rountree died 14 May 1930 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 May 1875 in Pitt County to Elias Barden and Lettice Davis; was married to Jack Rountree; lived on Hadley Street; and was buried in Wilson [probably Odd Fellows Cemetery].

On 16 September 1931, Jack Rountree, 60, of Wilson, son of Henry Rountree and Margaret [maiden name not given], married Catherine Waddell, 50, of Rocky Mount, daughter of Charles and Mary Small, in Wilson. A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of J.L. Cooke, Clara R. Cooke, and S.A. Coward.

In the 1940 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County, North Carolina: at 1812 South Church Street, yardman Jack Rountree, 78, and wife Katherine, 62.

In the 1950 census of Rocky Mount, Nash County: at 1812 South Church Street, John H. Rountree, 88, and wife Catherine, 77.

John Henry Rountree died 21 June 1953 at his home at 1812 South Church Street, Rocky Mount, Nash County. Per his death certificate, he was born 4 March 1887 in Person County, N.C., to Henry Rountree and Margaret [maiden name not stated]; worked as a retired janitor; and was buried in Rest Haven Cemetery, Wilson. [There is no marker in Rest Haven for John or Jack Rountree.]

Catherine Waddell Rountree died 1 September 1958 at her home at 1812 South Church Street, Rocky Mount. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 July 1888 in Greene County, N.C., to Charles Small and Mary Patrick; was the widow of Jack Rountree; and was buried in Unity Cemetery, Rocky Mount.

Lane Street Project: sponsor a marker.

Want to help Lane Street Project, but you’re nowhere near Wilson? Adopt a headstone!

For the discounted rate of $50, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care will clean, stabilize, and reset a headstone in Odd Fellows or Rountree Cemeteries. Billy Foster has more than “20 years of experience honoring the memory of loved ones” and in just a few weeks has already transformed the appearance of Odd Fellows. 

Newly cleaned and reset grave markers gleaming in the evening light. Photo courtesy of Billy Foster, Foster Stone and Cemetery Care.

These markers are among those available for sponsorship:

  • Hood S. Phillips

Hood S. Phillips was a barber. His wife Phillis Phillips was probably buried nearby, but we have not yet found her marker. Phillips’ marker will be cleaned and set upright, and the small collapsed area at the grave filled in.

  • Walter M. Foster 

Walter M. Foster‘s beautiful white marble headstone has a splintered corner that needs repair. Foster worked as a fireman (one who tended the fire to run a boiler, heat a building, or power a steam engine) for Hackney Wagon Company. 

  • Lula Dew Wooten

Lula Dew Wooten‘s headstone is perhaps my favorite in all of Odd Fellows. A simple rectangle with softly rounded shoulders and delicate engraving, the marker needs only cleaning and straightening. Wooten was a dressmaker, and her husband Simeon Wooten is likely buried nearby.

  • Nettie Foster

Nettie Foster‘s headstone badly needs cleaning.

  • H.B. Taylor

H.B. Taylor has not been identified. (He was not Rev. Halley B. Taylor, minister of Calvary Presbyterian Church for several years.) Taylor’s marker, which bears symbols of both the Masons and Odd Fellows, needs cleaning and straightening.

If you’re interested in sponsoring these or another marker, you can CashApp fifty dollars to $blackwideawake, Venmo to @lanestreetproject, or email me at lanestreetproject@gmail.com to arrange payment otherwise. Contributions less than $50 will be pooled — so no amount is too small!