Births Deaths Marriages, North Carolina, Paternal Kin, Photographs

Row Q.

Less than an hour after we got from the WCGS meeting last night, I received an email from president Joan Howell. I’d mentioned to her that I was trying to locate an unmarked grave at Rest Haven, she’d offered to check her records, and there it was: Nina F. Hardy, Section 3, Lot 20, Q in the street, Space 4.

This is how the morning went:

  • My father and I drove over to Rest Haven, but quickly realized that there was no way to determine where A’nt Nina’s grave was just by looking.
  • We got back in the car and crossed town to Maplewood Cemetery, where the City of Wilson Cemetery Commission is headquartered. The manager provided a chart and a print-out and a good suggestion. “Walk about halfway up Q,” she said. “Then call me and tell me what headstones you see.” [Sidenote: Q was once a track running through Sections 3 and 4 of the cemetery, like P and R to either side of it. Years ago, Q and the other odd-lettered rows were closed off and converted to burial space. The designation “Q in the street” means that A’nt Nina’s grave lies under what was once a pathway.]
  • Back to Rest Haven. A few minutes and a call later, we had the general location of A’nt Nina’s grave between those of Rev. Calvin Harris Boykin and Annie Thompson. I snapped a shot or two, though there is nothing much to see. [Cemetery employees can pinpoint graves, but none were available at the time.]
  • No time like the present, so we headed to our cousin L.H.’s house. His family owns a vault business that does a sideline in gravestones. I ordered a simple flat granite marker to be inscribed with A’nt Nina’s name, birth and death dates; my dad wrote a check (I’d left mine in Georgia, and L.H. doesn’t truck with credit cards); and it was done. I kissed L.H.’s new grandson, and he promised to send me a photo when the marker is installed. [L.H. remembers A’nt Nina. I don’t know why that surprised me. When they arrived in Wilson from Wayne County, Nina and L.H.’s grandfather, Jesse “Jack” Henderson, both lived with Jesse and Sarah Henderson Jacobs on Elba Street.]


My father standing at the approximate location of Nina Hardy’s grave this morning. Rest Haven cemetery, Wilson, North Carolina.

North Carolina, Paternal Kin


April 1998. I’d been a member of Wilson County Genealogical Society perhaps six months. The group’s Colonial Roads Tour felt like something I couldn’t miss, so I made a special trip home to board a bus that would introduce us to Wilson County’s earliest past. The late, great Henry Powell narrated, identifying and illuminating obscure landmark after obscure landmark as Wilson County’s backroads unspooled beneath the bus’ wheels. For the first time, I began to understand Wilson as a palimpsest created not just by time, but by race and class. There were whole layers of culture and memory and history accessible only to those who had inherited the right keys. The keys I had unlocked none of these doors. But they did grant access to the Society.

From the beginning, I was welcomed into the group — encouraged, consulted and listened to. WCGS’ efforts to be inclusive have been organic and sincere, and I have appreciated the opportunity to be a resource for others in and out of the group. Living in Atlanta means that I’ve only attended a handful of the Society’s Tuesday night meetings, but over the years I’ve been able to contribute dozens of articles to its excellent newsletter.

This week I again came home just for a WCGS event. Tonight, at the Society’s invitation, I used my keys to open a door to Wilson County to which few society members have access. My presentation touched on slaves and free people of color and segregation, but was focused on the awesome life of one of Wilson’s “lost” sons, my cousin Dr. Joseph H. Ward. After I set my nerves aside, my talk went well, eliciting thoughtful questions and positive comments at its conclusion.


I thank Wilson County Genealogical Society for the opportunity to give back to a community that has encouraged and supported my research for 17 years. And I thank the little fan club that came out to support me — my parents; Mrs. L and Mr. and Mrs. M, who have been surrogate parents all my long life; and a couple of staunch childhood friends. After the program, I spoke by phone with Cousin Joseph’s great-granddaughter, who is named after his beloved wife. One of the joys of my recent research has been being able to fill in the blanks in her ancestor’s early life, and she and her mother hope to visit his birthplace soon.

DNA, Maternal Kin, Paternal Kin

DNA Definites: Ancestry (under)estimates.

Of my zillions of matches at Ancestry DNA, to date I’ve able to document 13 of them. Four were cousins I already knew; one was a cousin I conjectured, but couldn’t prove; and two others are from family lines I knew, though I did not know the match. I am related to the remaining six — the most distant matches — via late colonial or early antebellum-era white ancestors previously identified but unproven.

The chart below shows Ancestry DNA’s estimates of my kinship to these 13, as well as our actual relationship. Ancestry tends to underestimate relationship slightly in matches closer than five degrees, and I try to keep this in mind when speculating about my mystery matches.

Match Ancestry Estimate Actual Relationship
W.H. 3rd-4th cousin 2nd cousin, once removed
G.J. 4th-6th cousin 2nd cousin, once removed
H.B. 4th-6th cousin 3rd cousin, once removed
S.D. 4th-6th cousin 3rd cousin
G.P. 5th-8th cousin 3rd cousin, 3x removed
E.G. 5th-8th cousin 4th cousin
B.J. 5th-8th cousin 4th cousin
G.L. 5th-8th cousin 5th cousin, once removed
J.W. 5th-8th cousin 5th cousin, once removed
D.M. 5th-8th cousin 5th cousin, once removed
J.B. 5th-8th cousin 5th cousin, twice removed
E.D 5th-8th cousin 6th cousin, twice removed
L.B. 5th-8th cousin 7th cousin
Births Deaths Marriages, Maternal Kin, Newspaper Articles, North Carolina

Archie Weaver departs this life.


Statesville Record, 2 June 1933.

My grandmother, for one, would not have agreed with this glowing assessment of Archie Weaver as hail-fellow-well-met and certainly would have put the lie to “loved by all who knew him.”

I’ll repeat it: Jay’s daddy had TB, and he just gave it to them. To my aunt and Jay. But he lived years and years and years after both of them died. But he give them all this stuff. Oh, I could not stand him. She was my special aunt because she had boys, and she didn’t have any girls. And she just took me over her house, you know, and let me do things that girls did, you know. 

In other words, for her money, Arch Weaver killed her beloved aunt Elethea and favorite cousin, Irving “Jay” McNeely Weaver. Though she was right that Arch survived “years and years and years” — eleven, to be exact — after Elethea, Jay, in fact, outlived his father by five months. No matter. They died, and much too soon for her.

Interview of Margaret C. Allen by Lisa Y. Henderson, all rights reserved.

North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Dr. Joseph H. Ward

Pretty excited about this:

Wilson County Public Library Local History and Genealogy Blog

Lisa Henderson programOn Tuesday October 28 a local genealogy phenom (although she is now a lawyer in Atlanta) will present her findings on Dr. Joseph H. Ward, an African American doctor who was born in Wilson in 1870.   Although he began his life in Wilson, a place that at the time had few prospects for an African Americans, by the 1890’s he was in Indianapolis practicing medicine as a licensed physician.  Come and listen to Lisa tell how she untangled the complicated history of his life and family.

In the mean time get absorbed in her brilliant blog about the history and genealogy of the free and enslaved persons of color in North Carolina, Scuffalong: Genealogy

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Free People of Color, North Carolina, Paternal Kin

Adam’s daughters reconnect.

I spoke by phone almost two hours yesterday with D.J., who reached out to me via Scuffalong. I started this blog for several reasons, an important one being the hope that others interested in the families I’m researching would find useful information and would reach out to collaborate. In just over a year, I’ve connected to several such people and, in addition to sharing my research, have gained access to invaluable leads and angles that I’d never considered. I was particularly happy to “meet” D.J. though, because she is also a cousin. We are descended to the same degree from two of Adam T. Artis‘ daughters — Louvicey and Lillie Beatrice — making us fourth cousins.