On a March morning, a 360° look at Odd Fellows Cemetery. The old gated entrance. The Tate and Dawson family plots. The Foster family plot. The wilderness of Rountree Cemetery. Straddling the tree line, the Vick family plot. Wiley Oates‘ obelisk. The densest remaining uncleared section. Ben Mincey‘s fire hydrant and the Mincey family plot. The work we’ve done in Seasons 1 and 2. Vick Cemetery in the distance. The power lines. The backs of the Barnes markers in their family plot. The street and the old gate.
I have only seen two of these small metal temporary markers in Odd Fellows Cemetery. In both, the paper insert that identified the decedent had long disintegrated. I assume these burials were among the last in the cemetery and date to the 1950s or early 1960s.
Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, March 2020.
Standing at the edge of Odd Fellows Cemetery gazing into the jungle of Rountree Cemetery. The green and red are new sprouts of wisteria, which will be in its riotous, ruinous lavender glory in a few weeks. Fifteen months ago, much of Odd Fellows looked like this. The weather has not been kind to our cleanup schedule this year, please help us make the most of the remainder of Season 2.
Next dates: March 26, April 9, April 23.
Yes, indeed. What you’re looking at is a long line of utility poles marching down Bishop L.N. Forbes (formerly, Lane) Street, well within the historic boundaries of Vick and Rountree Cemeteries.
Three enormous poles pin down the edge of Vick Cemetery. I don’t know when the easement was granted for the lines, or when they were erected, but I can guarantee it was decades after the Lane Street cemeteries were established.
The first pole below stands on the high ridge at the front of Rountree Cemetery. Its base is completely engulfed by at least a decade of woody growth. Not thirty feet away, under a canopy of honeysuckle and other vines, is a pile of broken headstones dating to the 1920s. Were they moved to make way for power poles?
Whose lines are these?
Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, March 2022.
The double headstone of Samuel H. Vick‘s parents Daniel and Fannie Blount Vick marks two of the oldest graves in Odd Fellows Cemetery.
The headstone was cast in what I call the Concrete Stipple style. Disturbingly, it was used as target practice at some point, and bullets took a chunk out of its top left corner and left a pockmark that obliterates Fannie Vick’s death date. (That date appears to start with “18,” but she was alive at the time the 1900 census was taken.)
Daniel Vick and Fannie Blount registered their six-year cohabitation in Wilson County on August 31, 1866. [Blount, for certain, and most likely Vick, arrived in Wilson from neighboring Nash County shortly after the Civil War.]
In 1867, Fannie Blount Vick’s mother, Violet Blount, filed letters with the Goldsboro Field Office of the Freedmen’s Bureau opposing the apprenticeship of her grandsons Marcus and Oscar to Benjamin H. Blount, their former owner. She named Daniel Vick as a suitable “master” for the boys, who were the sons of his wife Fannie’s deceased sister Margaret.
In 1877, Vick purchased one acre of land just east of Wilson town limits, his first recorded real estate acquisition. He went on to purchase additional land along what is now Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway.
In the 1880 census of Wilson township, Wilson County: grist mill worker Daniel Vick, 38, wife Fannie, 35, children Samuel, 16, Nettie, 14, Earnest Linwood, 12, Henry, 10, and James O.F. Vick, 8, plus Frank O., 20, and Marcus W. Blount, 26.
In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: carpenter Daniel Vick, 52; wife Fannie, 52; and granddaughters Annie, 8, and Nettie B. Vick, 6, and Mamie Parker, 20, laundress. Vick reported that both his parents were born in Virginia.
The original bulbs of these daffodils were planted in Odd Fellows Cemetery 70-125 years ago.
My visits to Wilson have not generally aligned well with LSP clean-ups, but this one did, and I was elated to join the last Black History Month effort at Odd Fellows. I am grateful to everyone who came out, including the cadre of Wilson Police Department officers that showed up early and stayed late to fell dead pines in the woods and clear winter’s dead weeds from the front; the pastors and members of Saint Timothy’s and Saint Mark’s Episcopal Churches; Our Wilson Mentoring; the Wilson Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (as always!); Wilson Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority; Total Impact Church (who brought barbecue lunches!); WhirliDogs; Seeds of Hope; and — surprise! — a group of students from East Carolina University’s Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement, who came to Wilson to work at Seeds of Hope’s community garden and were steered over to Odd Fellows to learn a little Wilson history and help us out!
A cautionary word, though. Safety first. Please, PLEASE don’t lean on monuments. After 100+ years, many are unstable. Henry Tart‘s obelisk, the largest in Odd Fellows, was accidentally toppled Saturday. Fortunately, no one was standing behind it when it fell, as they would have been seriously injured. The obelisk was not damaged, but will have to remain where it is until we can secure professional help to stabilize the base and reset the shaft and pyramidion.
Photos by Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2022.
Volunteers uncovered this concrete headstone and vault cover in Odd Fellows Cemetery during the season’s first clean-up. They lie about ten feet from Lula Dew Wooten‘s grave. The vault cover is unmarked, but the marker bears a very faint inscription that I set forth below as best I can decipher it. The use of a vault cover dates the burial very late in Odd Fellows’ period of activity, i.e. the 1950s or very early 1960’s, which the inscription seems to bear out.
JULY 16 18
Photo re Lisa Y. Henderson, February 2022.