Odd Fellows cemetery

Lane Street Project: “North Carolina Cemeteries: Documentation and Research”

The Friends of the Archives will host a virtual annual meeting and program, “North Carolina Cemeteries: Documentation and Research,” Monday, November 1, 2021, 1-3 p.m.

Celebrate All Saints Day by learning about cemetery archaeology and genealogy!

Panels include:

  • Identifying and Protecting North Carolina’s Cemeteries, John J. Mintz, State Archaeologist, NC Office of State Archaeology (NC OSA), will discuss the active role DNCR and the NC OSA play in protecting North Carolina’s cemeteries.
  • Find a Grave? Identifying, Recording, and Preserving Historic Cemeteries in North Carolina, Melissa Timo, Historic Cemetery Specialist, NC OSA, will share tips for identifying graves and cemeteries using more than headstones. She will also introduce guidelines for care and research resources, including the NC Site File.
  • You Don’t Always Get What You See: Best Practices in Cemetery Identification, Sarah Lowry and Maeve Herrick, Archaeologists, New South Associates, Inc., will detail methods for locating, identifying, and delineating cemeteries.
  • Cemetery Resources for Family Researchers, Victoria P. Young, professional genealogist and FOA board member, will discuss several online sites for genealogical research, including recommendations for best practices and how to work around misleading information.

Keynote — Gone and Nearly Forgotten: Reclaiming African American Heritage in Rural Southern Cemeteries. Professor Charles Ewen of East Carolina University will provide comments and discuss his current project, a 400-grave cemetery in Ayden, N.C., and ways ECU has partnered with communities for twenty years to investigate African American cemeteries.

Join this free event to learn more about cemetery documentation, research, and archaeology. Register here, https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_02BfReP7SfqQeyRoADXzAQ. Submit questions before the program to Christine Botta, christine.botta@ncdcr.gov, or share your questions and comments during the event.

Odd Fellows Cemetery, Wilson, North Carolina.

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2020.

Lane Street Project: the power of one.

I opened an email yesterday afternoon to find this photo of freshly cut Odd Fellows Cemetery. Thank you, Jeff Barefoot! I’ve been so discouraged by the discontinuation of mowing services from this section of the cemetery, so his unexpected work is really uplifting. This is the spirit of generosity and care that will see Lane Street Program through.

Lane Street Project: Emma Oates and Rev. Henry W. Farrior.

“Emma Wife of Charlie Oates Died Sept 3 1908 Age 40 Years” “Rev. Henry W. Farrior Aug 12 1859 May 6 1937”

The headstones of Emma Oates and Rev. Henry W. Farrior stand in the Oates family plot in Odd Fellows Cemetery. They are clearly newer stones, erected long after the deaths of the people they commemorate. Nearby, Emma Oates’ broken original marker with the epitaph “Every joy to us is dead, Since Mother is not here.”

In the background of the first photo, the small white marker of Emma Oates’ husband, Charles Oates, leans against that of their daughter Fannie Oates McCullins. The markers of two other daughters, Ella Oates and Rosa Oates Barnes, lie broken nearby. Farrior’s kinship to the Oates family, if any, is not clear.


In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Charles Oates, 34; wife Emma, 30; and children Willie, 11, Fannie, 9, Annie, 8, Effie, 5, and Queen Elsie, 4.

Emma Oates died before Wilson County maintained death certificates.

Emma Ruby Oates died 2 May 1922 in Wilson. Per her death certificate, she was born 10 May 1905 in Wilson to Charley Oates of Edgecombe County and Emma Williams of Edgecombe County; lived at 415 Hadley Street; was single; and was in school. [She was likely buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery with her parents and sisters.]

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, April 2021.

Lane Street Project: Fannie Oates McCullins.

Fannie Oates McCullins‘ broken headstone lies in Odd Fellows cemetery a short distance from her parents and sisters Rosa O. Barnes and Ella Oates.

Fannie Wife of Andrew McCullins


In the 1900 census of Wilson, Wilson County: day laborer Charles Oates, 34; wife Emma, 30; and children Willie, 11, Fannie, 9, Annie, 8, Effie, 5, and Queen Elsie, 4.

On 3 December 1908, Andrew McCullen, 40, of Wilson, son of Emma McCullen, married Fannie Oats, 19, of Wilson, daughter of Charles and Emma Oats. A.M.E. Zion minister J.S. Jackson performed the ceremony in the presence of Charles Knight, Henry Tart, and T.S. Beaty.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: pool room laborer Andrew McCollen, 36, and wife Fannie, 20, tobacco factory laborer. 

In the 1920 census of Wilson, Wilson County: at 133 Ashe Street, tobacco factory laborer Andrew McCullers, 40, and wife Fannie, 30, shared a duplex with laborer Bob Strickland, 70, and wife Mary, 45.

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.

Lane Street Project: finding Odd Fellows photos.

The only pre-Lane Street Project pictures of Vick, Odd Fellows, and Rountree Cemeteries discovered to date are aerial images and newspaper photographs. I reached out to Drew C. Wilson of the Wilson Times to find out if the paper’s photo archives held originals of the prints published in the 18 February 1989 article about Benjamin Mincey‘s efforts to keep Odd Fellows clear. I stopped by the Times‘ newsroom yesterday, where Olivia Neeley and Lisa Boykin Batts were already sorting through files. Drew Wilson split a stack of negatives with me, the ancestors smiled, and within minutes, I’d found the images.

Me with one of two negative strips and Olivia Neeley with an original print of the 1989 article. Photo by Drew C. Wilson.

The writer/photographer used almost all his shots in his article. I initially had trouble pinpointing Mr. Mincey’s location in the image below, then I recognized Della and Dave Barnes‘ headstones just left of the center of the image. The stone nearest him is Charles S. Thomas‘ granite marker. The trees in this area threw me, as all have since been removed. (What’s that pile of stones by the tree? There’s a similar pile, smaller, near a different tree now.) A number of the small, white marble footstones so common in Odd Fellows are visible, but many appear to have been moved now from their original locations. There seems to be something large and square to the left and behind the Barnes headstones, but it’s not clear what it is.  

The approximate view this morning, with the Thomas marker at (A) and the Barneses at (B). 

Below, Mr. Mincey stands near a sign: NO TRESPASSING CEMETERY PROP. UP TO $200.00 FINE FOR DUMPING TRASH. VIOLATORS WILL BE PROSECUTED BY ORDER of THE CITY OF WILSON CEMETERY COMMISSION. It’s not clear exactly where this was. Vick Cemetery? The Cemetery Commission now disclaims responsibility for any cemeteries other than Rest Haven and Maplewood, and the City’s Public Works Department mows and otherwise looks after Vick and a strip of Odd Fellows.

To the left and behind Mr. Mincey, Lucinda White‘s headstone, unbroken. To his right, back among young pines, Henry Tart‘s obelisk, which still leans back at about the same angle. Wisteria had not yet become the scourge in these woods that it is now.

Today, with (A) White and (B) Tart markers.

Below, Mr. Mincey and an unnamed assistant stand at the fire hydrant marking the grave of Mr. Mincey’s father, Benjamin Mincey. There appears to be a wooden sign draped with plastic sheeting in front of hydrant, and piles of trash and tree stumps are visible in the middle distance. I’d thought the large white headstone at center was Walter Foster‘s, but its outline and location don’t match up. The small white monument with a knob on top behind and to the left of the large marker made be that of Louvenia Pender, found back in December with its finial broken off.

Six months ago, this image would have been impossible to reproduce. Today, though the wisteria has begun to rebound from being cut back during the winter, the hydrant is visible at (A) with effort. The white stone behind Mr. Mincey appears to have been in the Vick plot, and may be the double headstone of Daniel and Fannie Vick. The dark wedge near its upper left corner appears to correspond with the divot in the Vicks’ stone caused by a gunshot.

This shot appears to have been taken from Lane Street and shows a gatepost similar to the ones that bracketed (until recently) another entrance into the cemetery perhaps 50 yards to the northeast. This entrance below is approximately at the current entrance to the cemetery parking lot. 

Finally, a bonus image, show later in 1989, perhaps to commemorate a milestone in Mr. Mincey’s service with East Nash Volunteer Fire Department. 

Madison Benjamin Mincey (1913-2001), the real MVP of Odd Fellows Cemetery. 

Many thanks to Drew Wilson, Olivia Neeley, and Lisa Batts for their generosity of time, resources, and spirit in the search for these photographs!

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: G. Washington Joyner.

This marker in Odd Fellows cemetery is likely the footstone for the grave of George Washington Joyner, called “Wash,” a painter turned barber.


In the 1870 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: farm laborer Ned Joyner, 34; wife Edith, 22; and children Charles, 9, Mary, 7, John, 5, Toney, 2, and Hail Columbus, 1 month.

In the 1880 census of Upper Town Creek township, Edgecombe County: laborer Ned Joyner, 51; wife Eadie, 42; and children Charles, 19, Mary, 16, John, 14, Toney, 12, Lumm, 10, Wash, 7, Louiza, 5, Birt, 3, and Mirtina, 1.

On 7 October 1895, Geo. W. Joyner, 21, son of Ned and Edie Joyner, married Sarah Barnes, 18, daughter of Frances and Alex Barnes, in Wilson. Missionary Baptist minister Fred M. Davis performed the ceremony in the presence of Dock Chandler, Alfonzo Graves, and J. Nelson Peacock.

In the 1908 Wilson city directory: Joyner Washington, painter, h 616 Viola.

In the 1910 census of Wilson, Wilson County: wagon factory laborer Willie Paulkin, 26, wife Pearl, 22, son Atric, 2, and brother Sam, 24, a wagon factory laborer; also house painter Wash Joyner, 35, wife Sarah, 32, a laundress, and son Alexander, 13.

In the 1912 Wilson city directory: Joyner Washington, barber, h 616 Viola.

In 1918, George Washington Joyner registered for the World War I draft. Per his registration card, he was born 15 April 1875; resided at 616 Viola Street; was a self-employed barber at 213 Goldsboro Street; and his nearest relative was Sarah Jane Joyner.

G.W. Joyner died 18 November 1918 in Wilson township, Wilson County. Per his death certificate, he was born 1875 to Ned Joyner and Edith [last name not given]; was a barber; and he died in an automobile wreck. Sarah Joyner was informant.

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: 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.