Lane Street Project

Lane Street Project: Rosa Oates Barnes.

Rosa Oats Barnes‘ broken headstone lies in Odd Fellows cemetery a short distance from her parents and sister Ella Oates.

Rosa Wife of Matthew Barnes


On 25 August 1919, Matthew Barnes, 21, of Wilson, son of Nat and Emma Barnes, married Rosa Oats, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Charles Oats.  A.M.E. Zion minister  B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of John Norfleet, J.L. Moore, and James Whitley.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: on Railroad Street, tobacco factory worker Emma Barnes, 48, widow; son Matthew, 23, auto garage laborer; and daughter-in-law Rosa, 18, tobacco factory worker.

Rosa Oates died 18 November 1922 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was 18 years old [actually, about 21]; was born in Wilson County to Charles Oats and Emma Williams; was divorced from Matthew Barnes; lived on Ash Street; and worked as a factory worker at Flemmings. Charlie Oats was informant.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2021.

Applications for military headstones, no. 4: Rountree Cemetery.

None of these veterans’ headstones have yet been found in Rountree, Odd Fellows, or Vick Cemeteries, the cemeteries collectively known as “Rountree.” 

  • David McPhail

Dave McPhail registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born April 1896 in Wade, N.C.; lived in Darden’s Alley; worked as an auto mechanic for S.H. Vick; and was single.

David McPhail died 6 March 1936 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 31 December 1899 in Cumberland County to Raford and Laura McPhail; lived at 208 South Vick; was married to Juanita McPhail; and worked as a mechanic.

  • Jessie Oliver 

Jessie Oliver registered for the World War I draft in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 24 December 1890 in Waynesboro, Georgia; lived in Black Creek; worked as a laborer for M.B. Aycock; and was single. 

Jessie Oliver died 12 February 1938 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 48 years old; was born in Georgia; was divorced; and worked as a laborer. Mary Jones was informant.

  • Robert Reaves

Robert Reaves died 7 December 1932 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 37 years old; was born in Orangeburg, S.C., to Robert and Luella Reaves; was married to Daisy Reaves; lived at 510 Smith Street; and worked as a mechanic for a cement finisher.

  • Doc Richardson

Doc Richardson registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1887 in Johnston County, N.C.; lived at 523 Lodge Street, Wilson; and worked as a railroad section hand for J.B. Hooks.

Doc Richardson died 5 March 1937 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 12 March 1889 to David and Vicey Ann Richardson; was single; worked as a laborer; and lived at 713 Viola Street. Lee Richardson was informant.

  • Dock Royall

Dock Royall died 31 March 1938 at Mercy Hospital in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born 14 September 1898 in Sampson County, N.C., to Samuel and Rachel Royall; was married to Ossie Mae Royall; lived at 310 Hackney Street; worked as a mechanic for Hackney Body Company. George W. Royall of Clinton was informant.

  • Plummer Williams

Plummer Williams registered for the World War I draft in Wilson County in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born in 1896 in Pitt County, N.C.; lived at Route 6, Wilson; worked as a farm hand for W.F. Williams, Wilson; and was single.

Plummer Williams died 11 December 1937 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was 44 years old; was married to Annie Williams; worked as a common laborer; and was born in Falkland [Pitt County], N.C., to Haywood Williams and Francis Barnes.

Lane Street Project: summer check-up.

The second day of summer in Odd Fellows cemetery:

Burn marks in the parking lot. People, do better.

I hope the city has not taken the front section of Odd Fellows off its regular maintenance schedule just because Lane Street Project put its shoulder to the wheel. This grass badly needs cutting.

Likewise, the entire ditch needs to be cleared of sumac, sweetgum, and maple saplings, as well as a blanket of weeds.

The wisteria is trying to make a comeback, but severing the vines up high has secured LSP’s major Season 1 victory.

The Mincey family plot is losing ground. Ben Mincey‘s hydrant is nearly overgrown again, as are the markers for his father Prince and brother Oscar Mincey.

We remember.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, June 2021.

Lane Street Project: coda.

Lane Street Project’s public work kicked into gear in December 2020 with the discovery of Samuel H. Vick‘s long-lost grave marker. We carefully unearthed and cleaned it, and several volunteers have worked extra-diligently to uproot the layers of wisteria runners that encase it. However, wisteria fights hard, and this is what it looked like this morning.

Charles Eric Jones‘ care, storage, and transport of Lane Street Project’s tool collection has been critical to the success of Season One. So, too, his commitment to show up early and stay late for every workday. His words today:
“Good afternoon from the Lane Street Project. This is the last joint clean-up before the summer. I have truly enjoyed working out here giving back to the ancestors,
who were the builders of East Wilson and who my elementary school was named after. I could not leave without freeing [Sam Vick’s] headstone and cutting the grass to help it look better. Thanks to all the good people I have met during this project, and I look forward to doing more. I pray that the Creator continues to Bless you and your family. Yours in Peace. CJ”
I owe everything to women and men like Charles Jones, without whom these cemetery clean-ups would have remained fervent, but unrealized, dreams. Lane Street Project is too big for one person, or a dozen, or even a hundred. We need you — your time, your energy, your ideas, your support. See you for Season Two, rested and ready to reclaim this sacred space!
Heartfelt thanks to the faithful and upright Portia Newman; Brittany Daniel; Joyah Bulluck; LaMonique Hamilton; Castonoble Hooks; Raven Farmer; Craig Barnes Jr.; Charles Jones; Dr. Judy Rashid; Rev. Kim Reives; Mayor Carlton Stevens; Briggs Sherwood; Julia Newton; Mike Witting and Alliance Forestry, Inc.; Drew Wilson; Will Corbett; Greg Boseman; the Wilson Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; Barbara Hansen; Councilman Derrick Creech; Joseph Story; Tyrone Speight; Laurie McBriarty-Sisk; Brandon and Kayla Nelson; Vicki Cowan; Brian and Erin Hollaway Palmer and Melissa Pocock of Friends of East End; Adam Rosenblatt of Friends of Geer Cemetery; Perry Morrison; Charlie Farris; and each and every LSP volunteer, donor, and supporter this Season One. 
Photos courtesy of Charles E. Jones.

Lane Street Project: season 1’s last clean-up.

Paige Nelson has been one of Lane Street Project’s staunchest volunteers. Her time as an LDS missionary in Wilson has ended, but she, her family, and the Wilson Ward continue to support LSP in ways large and small. On Saturday, May 15, please come to the last clean-up of Season 1, buy a teeshirt, and help preserve Wilson’s sacred spaces! Let’s end the season the way we started — strong!

Lane Street Project: Louis Thomas Sr.

Louis Thomas‘ marker, which bears insignia indicating his membership in the Order of Odd Fellows, stands about twenty feet from those of his parents, Charles and Sarah Best Thomas. He was a well-known carpenter.


In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 38, pressman for printing office; wife Sarah, 33; and children Elton, 9, Louis, 8, Elizabeth, 6, and Hattie May, 2.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Charlie Thomas, 49, laborer for printing office; wife Sarah, 44; and children Elton, 20, Lizzie, 18, Louis, 15, Hattie M., 11, Mary, 5, and Sarah, 1 month.

On 14 November 1912, Louis Thomas, 21, son of Charlie and Sarah Thomas, married Georgia Aiken, 19, daughter of John and Mary Aiken, in Wilson. L.A. Moore applied for the license, and A.M.E. Zion minister B.P. Coward performed the ceremony in the presence of Moore, Dr. W.A. Mitchner, and C.L. Darden.

Louis Thomas registered for the World War I draft in Wilson in 1917. Per his registration card, he was born 3 February 1892 in Wilson; lived at 644 Green; worked as a carpenter for Sam Vick; was married; and claimed his wife and three sisters as dependents.

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 644 Green, house carpenter Lewis Thomas, 26, and wife Georgia, 24.

On 1 April 1923, Louis Thomas, 27, of Wilson, son of Charlie Thomas, married Lillie Jane Howell, 18, of Wilson, daughter of Daniel J. and Rosa Howell, in Wilson. Presbyterian minister A.H. George performed the ceremony in the presence of George Coley, Rosa Howell, and George McKee.

In the 1930 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 715 East Green, owned and valued at $3000, Gus Thomas, 35, carpenter; wife Lilly, 24; and children Louis, 6, Chas., 4, and V. Jewel, 2.

In the 1940 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 715 East Green, Louis Thomas, 43, building carpenter; wife Lillie, 33; and children Louis Jr., 16, Charlie H., 14, and Van Jewel, 12.

Louis Thomas Sr. died 5 October 1950 in Wilson. Per his death certificate, he was born November 1894 in Wilson to Charlie Thomas and Sarah Best; lived at 715 East Green Street; worked as a self-employed carpenter; and was buried in Rountree Cemetery. Lillie Jane Thomas was informant.

Lane Street Project: Nettie Young Foster.

Nettie Wife of Walter M. Foster Born July 5, 1871 Died July 7, 1912. As a wife, devoted As a mother, affectionate As a friend, ever kind and true.


In the 1870 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Young, 34; wife Anna, 37; and children Joseph, 5, Jane, 4, John, 2, and George, 5 months.

In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: farm laborer Henry Young, 45; wife Zelpha Ann, 21; and children Joseph, 15, Nettie, 13, and George, 10.

On 14 August 1896, Walter Foster, 23, son of Peter and Phillis Foster, married Nettie Young, 28, daughter of Henry and Annie Young. Rev. Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony at Lou Ellis‘ house in Wilson in the presence of William Coley, Cora Ellis, and Minnie Coley.

In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Walter Foster, 26, day laborer; wife Nettie, 29; daughter Mollie, 6 months.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Walter Foster, 34, fireman at wagon factory; wife Nettie, 39; and children Henry E., 8, and Walter A., 5; plus boarder Arthur Broady, 22, laborer.

Nettie Young Foster died 7 July 1912.

Lane Street Project: the Hines-Barnes family.

Lane Street Project draws its logo from the white marble headstone of Della Hines Barnes, the most prominent marker in the fully cleared front section of Odd Fellows Cemetery. Beside it, leaning somewhat, is the headstone of her husband, Dave Barnes. Their children — Della’s sons Walter and William Hines and their half-brother, Dr. B.O. Barnes — had real estate wealth that came closest to rivaling that of their neighbor across Green Street, Samuel H. Vick

The size of the plot suggests space for two to three additional full-size graves. Walter S. Hines died in 1941 and may be buried there, but his grave marker lies some 50 feet away, askew, and apparently displaced. Della and Dave Barnes’ four youngest children died within just a few years between 1910 and 1930, and Dave’s son Efford Barnes died a few months after his father in 1913. It is likely they are buried in this plot, but it surprising that their graves are unmarked. 

Walter S. Hines’ small marble marker, perhaps a footstone, about 50 feet from his mother and stepfather’s headstones.

Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2021.

Lane Street Project: Henry Tart.

Henry Tart Born Apr. 11, 1886 Died Mar. 13, 1919

Henry Tart‘s magnificent obelisk is the largest gravestone standing in Odd Fellows. Tart was the well-known proprietor of a transfer company. Read more about him here and here and here.


In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: Walter S. Mitchel, 42, mason; wife Elizabeth, 36, laundress; and children Ada, 14, and Esther, 18; plus, wagon factory laborer Oleone Brooks, 18, and laborer Henry Tart, 18.

On 13 December 1911, Henry Tart, 25, of Wilson, son of John and Oliphia Tart, married Julia Clark, 23, of Edgecombe County, daughter of Mathew and Amanda Clark, at Saint Paul A.M.E. Zion Church, in Township #1, Edgecombe County. Levi Jones and Herman Grissom of Wilson were among the witnesses.

In the 1912 Hill’s Wilson, N.C., city directory: Tart Henry lab h 613 E Green

Henry Tart registered for the World War I draft on 18 September 1918. He recorded his address as the corner of Green and Reid Streets, his birth date as 11 April 1884, and his occupation as self-employed in the transfer business. His wife Julia C[lark] Tart was his next-of-kin, and he signed his card in a neat, well-spaced hand.

Upon Henry’s death, Tart’s wife applied for Letters of Administration for her husband’s estate. She listed four surviving daughters, all minors — indeed, young children — Olivia, Julia, Josephine, and Miriam Tart.

Lane Street Project: May 1 and 15 and then a break.

Henry Tart’s obelisk early on a spring morning, April 2021.

First, if you’ve been to even one of Lane Street Project’s Odd Fellows Cemetery clean-ups, we thank you. Y’all are the real MVPs.

Now, if you haven’t, and you’ve been thinking about it, please come out tomorrow, May 1, or May 15 for our last clean-ups of Season 1. See the photo above? We need to cut back the green shoots to enable our defoliation crew to get in a good, effective spray. There are also plenty of vines to sever a little deeper into the woods and along the fence line, and pile of debris to discard.

Also, buy you a teeshirt!

Over the summer we’ll be planning and strategizing for Season 2, hoping to build on our successes, take lessons from our mistakes, and figure out ways to energize and engage the community around the important and perpetual work to be done here. (And how pay for all of it!) We’d really love to see more involvement by our local churches and civic and social organizations. Even if you can’t (or don’t want to) tramp around in the woods, there are myriad ways to support LSP’s mission. Please reach out in the Comments here or at, and together we’ll figure out how you can help us make a difference!

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson.