It’s hard to believe that until two weeks ago, I had only been to my paternal grandparents’ grave twice. The first time was when my grandmother was interred and the second time was when Aunt Martha was interred.
Unlike the maternal side of my family, when I was growing up, my paternal side never pushed visiting the gravesite of my grandparents and uncle, which now also includes my aunt. Through the years, for as often as we were back in dad’s and the aunt’s and uncle’s hometown, I don’t ever remember anyone saying, let’s go by the gravesite, and while I’ve always wanted to go by the old home site, I don’t ever remember requesting a visit to the cemetery.
Lately though, I’ve felt a need almost a beckoning if you will to go visit the gravesite of my paternal grandparents, aunt, and uncle. So, on Friday, March 16th, having a gorgeous afternoon free, I decided to make the little over an hour drive, from work, to Winston-Salem, NC for a long overdue visit.
I had located the address of the cemetery before I left and plugged it into my trusty GPS unit. While enroute, I called my cousin Valerie, who lives in the Triad area of NC, hoping that she would meet me at the cemetery because even though I had a picture of the tombstone in my mind, I had no clue where in the cemetery the gravesite was located. But Valerie and Cousin Denise, her daughter, both had other plans for the day. After I hung up, I realized that I had forgotten to ask Valerie exactly where in the cemetery our grandparents’ graves were located. As she was in a hurry to get to her destination, I didn’t call back.
Arriving into town, I got off at the exist that usually takes us to dad’s and the aunt’s and uncle’s alma mater, Winston-Salem State, but instead of heading to the left as I’ve done on so many previous trips, I turned right. Before long, I arrived at Walkertown Road, the street the cemetery is located on. I made a right onto Walkertown and was at the cemetery in little or no time. This amazed me as through the years, I had always imagined that Evergreen cemetery, where my grandparents, aunt and uncle are interred, was way out. Why didn’t we ever visit seeing how close it was to the alma mater?
As I turned into the cemetery, I stopped at the front gate and took a picture. If the words gorgeous and beautiful could be used to describe a cemetery, Evergreen, definitely fits the bill. From this point on, it was truly my Ancestors’ guidance that lead me to their graves as I wasn’t seeing any tombstones that matched that picture in my head and of course there were lots of Joneses. I had made almost a complete circle through the cemetery when suddenly I decided to pull over and get out. I parked right beside a Jones family plot that I knew wasn’t it but checked anyway. I then proceeded on to the last row of graves in this section and started walking when suddenly I stopped and looked to my right. Yes, it was their graves. How amazing was that?
I took pictures of the headstone and footstones, and I talked to them, telling them I was sorry that I hadn’t been before now. I promised my grandmother that next time I would bring flowers since I knew how much they had meant to her.
Prior to leaving Winston-Salem, I of course went by the lot one more time where the old ancestral home once stood because no visit is quite complete until I do that.
As I made the journey back home, I would venture by the gravesite of other relatives, those being on my maternal side, and which I will discuss on a future post at Georgia Black Crackers.
Uncle Thomas Langston Jones
As you can see, my grandparents stressed education and were so proud of the accomplishments of their first born, whom preceded them in death, that they had his degrees awarded engraved on his tombstone.
Aunt Martha Jones
All pictures are from the personal collection of the owner of this blog.
My Aunt Martha indicated in a letter to me, dated 2 July 1991, that we had cousins with the surname Hargett and that the then owners of the Hargett funeral home in Greensboro, NC were our distant cousins. Well, this is one of those so-and –so is our cousin type things that I’m beginning to possibly validate.
Based on information that I have to date, my Hargett Ancestry is as follows:
1. Mavis Jones
2. Earl Jones
3. Iola Everett, born May 1893 in Cross Roads, Martin, NC; died 05 April 1969 in Shelby, Cleveland, NC; interred in Evergreen Cemetery, Winston-Salem, Forsyth, NC
4. Peter Everett, born abt. 1863 in Martin County, NC, most likely the Cross Roads area; died 27 Jan 1931 in Cross Roads, Martin, NC; possibly interred in Everetts Cemetery, Everetts, Martin, NC.
5. Vica Ann Hargett, born abt. 1850 in North Carolina, possibly Pitt County; date of death and interment unknown
While I’ve been at this awhile, for whatever reason, it wasn’t until this year, that I requested a copy of my great grandparents’, Peter Everett and Edith Ewell, marriage license. On the marriage license granddaddy Peter’s parents are listed as Vica Ann Hargett, living, and what appears to be Henry Cherry (name difficult to make out), deceased.
There is a great deal more work to be done of this line, and sometime in the future I will begin more research on it but from my quick assessment of census records, I believe that
My 2nd great grandmother Vica Ann was an Everett when granpa Peter was born.
She later married John Hargett and had several more children.
Once again, this shows that you have to continually look back and go through your notes for missed items or from a different perspective. I think the reasons I had never requested my great-grandparents marriage license is that 1) when I initially begin my research, I had wrongly assumed that it was so far back in time that there wouldn’t be a record of my great grandparents marriage or 2) even though I keep somewhat decent records of my correspondence to various places, I might have thought I had already requested and was told there wasn't a record. Either way, I’m glad I realized that I had never asked as the find puts me back one more generation and more or less confirms the information on great granddad’s death certificate.
I’m a little behind on acknowledging the Ancestor Approved Awards that I received for Conversations with My Ancestors. I hope that my presenters didn’t think I didn’t appreciate it. It’s just that it was hard enough to come up with 10 things the first time. In fact I included some of my surprises, thrills, etc. from my paternal side in the 10 things posted on Georgia Black Crackers. So, I’ve been more or less stalling trying to come up with an additional 10 things.
As a reminder, the rules are the recipient of the Ancestor Approved award lists ten things learned about their ancestors that have surprised, humbled, or enlightened. The recipient then passes the award to ten other bloggers that are doing their Ancestors proud.
The realization that my grand aunt Goldie Everett Johnson and her husband James Henry Johnson both appeared to have died young (unconfirmed) and that my great grandfather, Peter Everett, and his second wife, Della, finished rearing two of his grandchildren, Cousin Etherlyn “Hun” Johnson Curtis and Cousin James Henry “Buddy” Johnson.
That for now, neither of the surnames of my great grandfather Peter Everett’s parents matches his surname. Just means there is more research to do, which of course is not a surprise. :)
This one could probably go into all three categories but I’m surprised by how much I matured as a researcher during my ten year hiatus away from my research. Of course I still have a long way to go and will still make mistakes but when a fellow researcher, whose workshop I was taking, asked me if I had ever thought about teaching a class, it definitely was an exclamation point to my research.
The drive and ambition of my great grandfather Peter Everett, who masterfully carried out a plan to be his own man at a time when the deck was stacked against him.
The activism of my grandfather, Harry Claudius Jones, in Winston-Salem, NC through the Forsyth Black Chamber of Commerce and as Director of the Negro Home and Welfare Association in helping to lay the foundation for future generations.
By the fact my father, in order to earn money to pay his way through college, took one of the only jobs available to him, working on the chain gang.
The drive for and attaining of educational goals by my father, aunts and uncles with virtually no financial resources and at a time when society probably thought they were wasting their time in pursuing those goals.
The Pictures I have of my great grandparents, Peter and Edith Ewell.
The renewal of my voracious appetite for reading which was fueled by the renewal of my research. Granted most of my reading has to do with my research but it’s allowed me a chance to get to know my ancestors in their time and quit trying to interpret their life in my era.
The willingness of some Probate Courts and Register of Deeds to return your funds when there is an unsuccessful search of records. It wasn’t and is not always the case. Every little bit helps, you know.
From the personal collection of the owner of this blog
This is my second post for the second edition of the Carnival of African-American Genealogy. As mentioned in my post about my maternal grandmother, this carnival has been a tough one for me. As previously noted, it’s not that I never knew my grandmothers but that I really didn’t get an opportunity to know them.
I was a bit older, 8 to be exact, when my paternal grandmother died. While I had her a bit longer, as fate would have it, father time had mentally taken her away from me a few years before. Even so, while no single moment sticks out for me the way the last visit with my maternal grandmother does, I know that my paternal grandmother and I had our special moments.
For the first few years of my life, Grandmomma Jones stayed in Winston-Salem, NC, where she and granddaddy settled after leaving their home county in the eastern part of the state. While I always seemed to get sick off the fumes that seeped through the floor of daddy’s old Ford, I always enjoyed and looked forward to the trips to my grandmother’s house. However, I must admit that the house itself always seem to terrify me. I always had a problem with basements, so the cellar of the Big House was especially terrifying.
From what I know about my grandmother, she was a resourceful and strong woman who like Jesus fed the masses with very little. Unlike my maternal grandparents who farmed, my paternal grandparents were more city folks. However, that doesn’t mean they struggled any less. In fact, it seems like they may have struggled more. Grandmomma’s small garden provided just enough for her to feed her family. Grandmomma Jones could make practically anything from greens and squash and that’s how she and her family survived.
Grandmomma Jones endured the death of her first born who drowned while away at grad school and her youngest who only lived a few short months. She also survived having cancer in not one but both breast, which was totally unheard of at that time, the survival that is.
Grandmom was definitely proud to be a grandmother and was proud of her grandkids. My mother tells the story of one summer, when most of Grandmomma Jones’ grandkids had descended on her. My cousin Valerie and I were still babies and I think my cousin Lafrieda was there and maybe even cousins Jay and Claudius. We were all outside, and grandmom was holding me. One of her neighbors came by asking where all these babies came from and Grandmom proudly proclaimed these are my grandbabies.
Eventually Grandmomma Jones’ health started to fail. Around this time, her daughter, Aunt Martha, who lived in my hometown, decided to build a house and have grandmom move in with her. So, the last years of her life were spent in my hometown. Given the fact Aunt Martha’s house was < 2 miles from our house, for awhile I had the double pleasure of having both of my grandmother’s near. Even though at this point in time there was little interaction due to her health, I still enjoyed spending time with grandmom and always went bounding into Aunt Martha’s house with a hey grandma and plopping down beside her for a awhile.
Grandmomma Jones departed this world on April 5, 1969. It occurred over Easter break while Cousin Valerie and Aunt Emmanuline were visiting. Grandmom stumbled, lost her balance, and struck her head. Eerily, Aunt Martha’s death, which occurred almost exactly 31 years later, happened in the same manner.
As with my maternal grandmother, I wish we had had more time but I will always be grateful for the time that we did have together. I still feel the pride that she exuded in having me / us as her grandkids and would like to think that if she were here that she would be proud of the work that I’ve done on her ancestral line.