Showing posts with label cemetery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cemetery. Show all posts

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Taxes season -- local charities needs help

With 2008 ending and the new tax season starting, check out my pre-1900 cemetery preservation projects to see if it warrents your finacial donations.

Click on the links below to find an easy way to help --Resurrection Mission--
You can also donate through PayPal by using

Have a Happy New Year--

My latest stuff for sale on
Lejeune Yard Sales, that aids in obtaining financial assistance:

Taxes-local charity needs help
A good cause seek donations!
Capt. Otway Burns- War of 1812
Simbar: Fr. Slave; Wit. 2 WWII
Veterans' Memorial Stockings
Help a worth while charity!
Read for a charity cause !
Buy a book to help a charity!

See all my items for sale!


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Anthropologist visit to assist in cemetery preservation

On July 19th, Dr. A. Midori Albert, Associate Professor of (Forensic) Anthropology Department at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and two of her associates, John Navarra and Rebecca Sutphin, assisted me during my stabilization of the Petteway Family Cemetery (ca.1885). I had discovered what was thought to be a shallow grave with various bones lying out in the open.
(L to R) Rebecca, Under Grad. student--Dr. A. M. Albert--John, Teacher of Anthropology, looking at various bones uncovered during cleanup of the largest all African American "Family" cemetery within Onslow County, N.C. (southeastern region of the state).
We spent the day touring the Petteway family cemetery and the family's Patriarch, Dalton Odell Petteway who is the grandson of former slave George Washington Petteway, was on hand to tell some oral history of his family and the cemetery.

Mr. Dalton Odell Petteway (wearing hat) stands with members of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Anthropology Department. Odell told a few stories of his Grandfather, George Washington Petteway, former slave of the Petteway Plantation.

After leaving the Petteway cemetery our group went to what is believed to be the largest all African American "Community" cemetery within Onslow County, North Carolina. Although there were no bones to identify within this grave yard, I gave the Anthropologists a guided tour of the cemetery and discussed the site as I first saw it in December 2006, comparing to what it looks like today.

(L to R) Myself (Jack Robinson), Dr. Albert and Rebecca standing beside the grave of Martha Fisher, former slave, who is now at rest within the Brick Mill Cemetery.

Later, before Dr. Albert and her associates left we stopped at Arnold's Resturaunt in Richlands, N.C. , had lunch and talked about the two tours and future projects of working together.

By the way, the exposed bones within the shallow grave that I located were eventually declared non-human, however, Odell Petteway recalls through family history handed down to him by his father, that slaves may have been buried within the same area of the sunken grave where the animal bones were located. Dennis Jones, a respected local historian has confirmed this possibility.

The adventure to stabilize the Petteway family cemetery and the Brick Mill cemetery continues to bring new information about the people who once lived in the surrounding communities.

Updates will follow...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Finding old African American graves in a forgotten cemetery

I have continued my research dealing with All African American cemeteries that I started in January 2007. I spend, on average, forty hours per week documenting, promoting, and stabilizing seven cemeteries. I pay all expenses, such as, labor, research fees, supplies and equipment. Yes, the cost is a challenge but, the rewards for the community is worth the strain
on my limited budget.

The hardest part of my work is locating graves where headstones were never placed but, evidence suggest a grave exists. In certain areas of a cemetery, for example, nearly
perfectly spaced graves with headstones (or metal nameplate markers) are located along
with an open flat area, between the headstones.

(Image A: Flat surface between two known grave sites)

(Image B: Same location as image A but, measured)

Image C: Same as previous images with "Memorial Rock."

Located three inches under known surface, which suggests a grave site.

Throughout each of the cemeteries I have worked on have this unique challenge.

To find a grave within a flat area which has been over grown by weed or traditional grass over the grave is a tedious job but, when done properly, the results will be extremely rewarding.

Rediscovered grave. Notice the depth of metal name plate

Which, after decades under ground, still maintains a partially handwritten identification label--

Eddie Rhodes (date of death was unreadable.

Currently, at my own time, labor and expense, I am stabilizing the following all African American Cemeteries:

Brick Mill Cemetery:

Now recognized as the largest all African American cemetery within Onslow County. It has been in continous operation since ca.1900 or, as evidence suggest, even earlier.

Petteway family Cemetery:

Located just outside of Richlands, N.C., this cemetery appears to be the largest all African American "Family" cemetery in Onslow County. Est. ca.1880, it is still being utilized by Petteway family members. Descendents of the "Plantation Owner's Petteway family," are buried adjacent, within a separate plot of land, next to the African American Petteway cemetery.

Parker/Mills' family cemetery:

Located just north of Richlands, N.C., this small family cemetery contains one of the oldest African American graves dating 1874. There are at least five "missing" graves that may predate the still standing 19th Century headstone.

Toudle/Toodle family cemetery:

Located within thick woods and over growth of vines and brier bushes, this is a small but, historical valuable cemetery. The only known Spanish-American War African American veteran, from Onslow County is laid to rest in these Hallowed Grounds.

My research on African American cemeteries is growing each month. I am gathering a great deal of information from the local communities. My projects are not "non-profit" or associated with any church, "non-profit" organization or museum. The citizens from the various communities where these cemeteries are located, along with N.C. historians and other national researchers are helping me with my research.

The highest challenge is obtaining "financial gifts," of any kind in aiding in my research work. Replacement of dirt, missing headstones, and other things such as tools, gas, and grass seed or sod is costly. If you wish to give a financial gift you can use "PayPal" using my email address which is:

Here is my personal address if, you wish to send a comment or gift:

Jack Robinson

Gysgt., U.S. Marine Corps, Retired

P.O. Box 1501

Richlands, North Carolina 28574 (USD only please)

Any financial gift will be put toward needed supplies and equipment for each projects. Anyone who gives a gift will be added to my "Friends of cemetery preservation" list.

Please be aware that I am not a "Not-For-Profit" organization.

Click here to review books that I have written

Monday, January 07, 2008

Reviewing my events of 2007


I started 2007 with new adventures dealing with preserving the "little known" histories of Onslow County, North Carolina (southeastern part of the state).

The initial project was simply looking for any evidence of a ca.1930 segregated baseball team that once played in Richlands, N.C. It turned out, the Pepsi-Cola Giants, played ball from Virginia to South Carolina and even defeated one of the national minor league segregated teams out of Florida. By 1960, the team changed it's name to the "Richlands' Bees" and played ball until the early 1970s.

I also began researching "forgotten or abandoned" all African American Cemeteries in Onslow County while researching the Pepsi-Cola Giants.

From January to December 2007, six cemeteries were rediscovered, cleaned, and documented. Since I am an independent historian and not associated with any "Not-For-Profit" church, museum, or organization, I conducted these projects at my own physical and financial expense.

The rewards over came time, effort and money, but I hope readers appreciate the time, energy, commitment and costs that go into such projects.

The Brick Mill Cemetery, is the largest of the six all African American cemeteries currently being preserved and documented exclusively by my work. This cemetery has been determined to be the largest community cemetery of it's type in Onslow County.

This cemetery has been noted as having a total number of graves nearly equal to the population of Richlands' (N.C.) present day population. The cemetery dates to ca.1900, if not before.

I foresee 2008 as an even more productive year in preserving our local history. I plan on focusing on conducting "oral histories" of the Elders of the local communites.

Presented below is an image of a Brick Mill Cemetery "possible" grave that I recently located deep into the surrounding woods, beyond the known cemetery boundries.

Pre-1920 and even today, it is not uncommon to mark graves without headstones but instead, use stone, brick, or another form of artifact such as sea shells within an African American Cemetery. By doing so, it carries on an old tradition of buriel rites.

Contact me if you have any questions or comments. I will be willing, for a modest fee, to support my work, visit any cemetery for a preliminary walk through or to discuss an abandoned cemetery that may be in your area.

Best wishes to you and your family for 2008.

Jack Robinson, MA
GySgt., U.S. Marine Corps, Retired
Researcher of local History