Wilson County Cemeteries, Volume Five almost ready for Publishing

nettie

Nettie Foster is one of the few to still have a marker in the Rountree/ Vick cemetery after years of neglect by the city. Photo taken by the Lassiters for Find a Grave.

The long awaited Wilson County Cemeteries, Volume V: Rest Haven and Rountree/ Vick Cemetery by Joan Howell is in the final lap and almost ready to be published.  Joan has literally worked decades getting this together and now the end is in site.  I have been helping to proofread and edit the manuscript this week and it looks like the whole book will be finished this month. Here is and excerpt by Joan Howell on the history of Rountree/ Vick Cemetery

Samuel H. Vick, one of the first black postmasters in North Carolina, deeded the cemetery to the city of Wilson on March 24, 1913.  But unfortunately the cemetery was not maintained, which resulted in the breakage and disappearance of tombstones due to vandalism, weather, and encroaching vegetation.  In 1983 the Cemetery Commission heard that the Vick Cemetery was city property and set out to clean up the area at a cost of $10,000, which the chairman said did not “make a dent.”

In February 1990, it was confirmed that the 7.45-acre tract belonged to the city of Wilson and plans were made to improve the area, which would be a slow and costly process.  The city of Wilson held a public meeting on April 24, 1995 to share plans and receive input from the community about restoring the cemetery.  Because many of the stones were missing , broken or moved from their original positions, it was agreed that the stones would be removed and stored (after notation was made of where each was found).  The city proposed clearing the land, adding topsoil, and placing on large monument with suitable landscaping around it,  those present at the meeting agreed with that proposal.

On Saturday, February 17, 1990, the Wilson Daily Times stated in the article, “City responsible for old cemetery,” that “The city has an obligation to those people buried in Vick Cemetery to restore their final resting place and make it a site of peace and dignity.”  Today the 7.45 acres is a large grassy area, well maintained, with a large attractive monument in place.

It is my hope that this book will be a means of supplying some of the information lost over the years of neglect for the Rountree/ Vick Cemetery.

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2 thoughts on “Wilson County Cemeteries, Volume Five almost ready for Publishing

  1. Kudos to Joan! As kids, we rode our bikes down Lane Street and poked around the headstones at the edge of the road. They extended as far as we could see back into the woods, but we didn’t dare venture too far in. I’ve got family buried there, in graves lost to time. I was honored to be able to assist Joan in a small way with the book and look forward to obtaining a copy!

  2. Pingback: Wilson’s African-American cemeteries. | Black Wide-Awake

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