Wake Forest Cemetery
August 12, 2001
Narrated by Carmen Jones-Clad
Today is Sunday, August 12, 2001, and I'm out at the old Wake Forest Cemetery. What I want to do today is to go through and indicate who is buried here so that there is some sort of record for our community.
Very briefly, a short description of this community to give one some background as to when and why it's here: Wake Forest is a community settled by blacks that were both house and field slaves on the Kentland Plantation. Among those family names are: Eaves, Sherman, Jones, Milton and Sherman.
Lewis (or Louis) Eaves, my great grandfather on my father's mother's side, and the Jones family (on my father's father's side) are said to have been house slaves on the Kentland Plantation.
After the Civil War, Elizabeth, a daughter of James Randall Kent, set aside land (Wake Forest) to be used as a community for freed slaves who wanted to continue working Kentland after Emancipation. Among this land was land designated for the cemetery. According to my late father's brother (the last of several my father's siblings born in that community) there are but 5-6 spaces available in the cemetery. The graves are so close together these days (and I was last there for my Aunt Myrtle's burial in 200 ) that when a new grave is dug, water comes in from the next grave. There are many graves without a headstone or any kind of marker indicating where they are and, as time passes, there are fewer and fewer people who remember where whom was buried!
Again, according to my uncle, there is another acre and a half set aside in the community to to take the 'overflow' of burials once this one is filled.
Many graves, including my father's mother (Lizzie Malinda Eaves)'s father (Lewis Eaves) are currently unmarked though they are known to be there!
I'm going to start at the very top, the area farthest away from the entrance way. Beginning at the top left hand corner there is a cross marking Willie A Milton, 1902-1965.
To his right is Oliver T. Sherman, 1900-1965. That has a beautiful stone. A cross is for Jerry Eaves, dates missing. To the right, Anna E. Eaves 1887-1968. Let's see what do we have here. A marker that has broken off and to the right of that is Omega Sherman-Stewart 1925-1972. And in front of that there is a little marker, not a gravestone, but just a marker - Mrs. Johnnie Stewart 1925-1974. Charles R. Page, Sp4 US Army, August 15, 1939-February 25, 1967. A plaque set in the ground: Mother Mildred H. Hoag 1906-1979. Henry Clarence Page, 1912-1973. Mr. Joe McDaniels, again just a simple marking from the funeral home, 1912-1976.
To the right, Jerome Sprinkle, April 13, 1920-August 30, 1980. Dorothy Mae Bannister Brown, June 8, 1929-December 30, 1982. Jane Tye Page, 1917-1985. A beautiful double headstone on the left which says Sister Frances C. Curtis, October 28, 1913-December 20, 1985. Sister Laura A. Taylor, August 20, 1911- January 13, 1999. To the right is Dr. Frank T. Bannister, Jr., December 17, 1931-October 21, 1986. Another plaque in the ground from the funeral home, the name and date thereon is missing. Next to that another plaque Margie Agnus Morris 1903-1990. Again by the Hoy McCoy Funeral Home. Another one saying Mary Sherman Jon (could be Jones of course), 1914-1990. This one is from Penn Funeral Home. Next to that is Catherine something or other I cannot see the last name from Claytor Alexander 1922; the date of death is missing from that funeral home plaque. Next to that Saxton K. Grade, May 30, 1933-January 11, 1993. A plaque Othelia Bolland 1896-1994. Leo T. Grade, June 28-1954-April 19, 1997. Thelma Dale Eaves, August 30, 1920-February 8, 1999. Her sister Iris C. Hamilton, July 20, 1913-April 29, 1999. Stanley C. Grade, January 10, 1953-December 23, 1999. Flora Kate Fears, May 3, 1901-March 29, 2000. Mary L. Mills, 1908-2001.
I'm going to move back to the second row, this time starting from the far right and working my way back over towards the left. The first one is an old one for Henry C. Page, April 28, 1872-March 2, 1923. To the left of that Sherman, Juanita D., September 20, 1899-December 8, 1948. Robert H. Sherman ("Rob"), May 23, 1889-February 22, 1962. Again moving left along the second row Myrtle I. Jones, January 24, 1928-April 17, 2001. George Wallace Page, Pvt. USArmy World War II, February 27, 1926-May 31, 1999. Homer C. Sherman, 1917-1998. Rayphael P. Milton, September 30, 1924-August 2, 1996. A plaque from McCoy Funeral Home, Betty Wade Milton, 1928-1999. Marie A. Sherman, August 17, 1927-June 4, 1995. Edith J. Page, 1927-1992. Double Bannister, Revella H. July 19, 1913-August 28, 1988. Frank T., June 29, 1902-September 17, 1991. A plaque from Fizer Funeral Home for Mr. Milburn Milton, 1902-1988. Another plaque which is missing all the information. To that left is a large stone "In Loving Memory", Courtney Means Milton, November 1, 1901-April 26, 1985. To the left John Paul Jones, my uncle, my father's brother, Stm USNavy 1922-1979. I know at the time Uncle Paul died he was living in Philadelphia. Flossie M. McDaniels, June 14, 1902-May 23, 1979. Duval Marvin Bannister, Pfc US Army World War II, 1912-1977. A fairly large expanse of land in between before we get to the next one which is a marker from Ritchie and Johnson Funeral Parlor for Ida Young, 1901-1971. Virginia B. Collins, April 25, 1916-May 3, 1970. A funeral home marker with no information is next. There's a pine tree to the left of that Murray A. Sherman, Virginia Pvt COD 341 SVC Co OMC, World War I, May 30, 1895-November 16, 1967. George A. Bannister, June 10, 1886-September 5, 1963. Another funeral home marker with nothing on it. To the left a marker from the Jones Funeral Service, William H. Keys, 1881-1961. And the farthest left is Mary Frances Bannister, December 12, 1871-November 9, 1960.
I'm going to move backwards and begin at the farthest left side of the cemetery. The first one, with a little lamb on the top, for James Howard Bannister, October 11, 1913-July 22, 1949 with a notation "His memory is blessed". James H. Jones, my grandfather, May 9, 1885-November 5, 1948. Isaac Theodore Eaves, July 12, 1921-February 6, 1953. "His memory is blessed." "Gone but not forgotten", Leroy Mills - this is a nice bronze plaque - August 4, 1910-July 30, 1938. Alex Ander Eaves, July 12, 1891-February 18, 1942.
I seem to have skipped a row, this is actually in row four so I am going to continue across with row four and then I'm going to move back to row three. So continuing on with row four: Constance M., daughter of J. H. and L. M. Jones, this is my auntie who died very young, March 6, 1933-February 23, 1934. There is a small plaque here for W. C. Eaves with just the initials W. C. E., which is at the bottom of a headstone in row 3. for "husband and father, a good carpenter" William C. Eaves, Sr., December 25, 1915-July 27, 1978.
I'm going to move on back; there's a large expanse of land with no markings or anything over here on row 4 until I get to a place where it looks like a footstone for the gravestone ahead. I'm going to go on over and here at the far, far right is a, I believe it's probably a footstone for the Henry C. Page one. I got the Shermans. Okay this is row 3 and this one is for Myra Mayo, wife of Wallace Page, October 25, 1907-January 13, 1953. Wallace Jasper Sherman, June 16, 1918-August 29, 1962. Hugh Jones, November 6, 1887-October 25, 1962. "DeeDee" Dameta M. Jones, 1966-1968. Douglas M. Page, 1952-1972. William B. Sherman, Tech 5 US Army World War II, July 9, 1926-April 4, 1976. Mother Addie L. Jones, November 22, 1889-November 28, 1979. Howard H. Jones, US Navy World War II, 1915-1983. "Precious memories" Wanda F. Farrow, 1957-1983. "An inspiration to all who knew her" wife Regina M. Page, August 18, 1902-June 25, 1985. Clarence T. Page, USArmy World War I, January 17, 1897-December 5, 1986. Bit of a space then Mother Willie E. Sherman, November 8, 1894-February 5, 1979. Next to that is a plaque from the Claytors Funeral Home for Mr. Joseph Eaves, 1923-1978. Vashti E. Hunt, April 20, 1900-August 25, 1976. Henderson M. Jones, September 19, 1930-February 14, 1976. Again one of my father's brothers. LaToya Jones, December 27, 1963-July 13, 1973. Arthur Sherman, 1916-1971. And that is as far as row 3 goes and that is over just at the base right hand side of that pine tree.
There's a fair bit of distance between row 4 and row 5; row 5 is marked by, and I'm standing on the far left side , there are two very nice shade trees here. Julian S. Milton, October 1, 1979-January 1, 1980, Callie Bonnis, infant daughter of RP or RR and Betty Milton, October 11, 1952. Harry S. Milton, July 22, 1919-May 4, 1944. Aunt Mary Melton (this is spelled Melton), 1862-1943 and beneath that on the marker it has "white friends". A. Wardie Milton, October 3, 1937-September 25, 1942 and underneath that is "she was the sunshine of our home". Next to that is Dorothy G. Milton, November 8, 1941-November 8, 1941. Rose A. Milton, April 2, 1860-July 18, 1941 "God's ways are just". And I see that about midway in the cemetery between rows 4 and 5 there is a few stones (obviously these are not always in straight lines but anyway). This next one is for Glaydis (spelled) L. Bannister, June 11, 1900-June 14, 1931 "A tender mother and a faithful friend" and that has a little lamb on the top of the stone. To the right there is Trussey Eaves, born November 22, 1874-May 6, 1926. There are couple of stone markers to the right of that, they may be stone markers I'm not sure; there's nothing on them. I'll move back to around row 5. There is one under a tree that is for Flora Jane Milton, April 15, 1914-April 18, 1916 and I guess that's a footstone for that particular marker.
I'm going to work back to my left in row 5 or what I've been using as row 5. Geneva W., wife of Walter J. Milton, May 4, 1891-September 24, 1924. Next is Walter J. Milton, September 20, 1886-April 20, 1968. There's another little stone here, a footstone for Trussey Eaves.
I'm directly under a tree that is about a third of the way into the cemetery coming from the left. There's a stone for James E. Palmer, October 14, 1891-July 12, 1959. Then there's one for Roxie E. Milton, wife of James E. Palmer, July 18, 1984-October 4, 1955 and this one is directly right up next to the tree. Just to the right of the tree is Bonnie Lane Eaves, wife of M. M. Milton, July 7, 1896- March 9, 1954. Albert J. Milton, June 26,1884- July 2, 1953. To the right of that is a little mound of stones; I wonder if someone is buried there, there is just no mark, and then at the right of that is a Synthia (spelled) Price, October 30, 1882-May 13, 1924.
And then I'm walking towards, I think I've gotten the ones in front, yes I did. These are under another tree, or moving towards another tree, Elvira G. Sherman, December 2, 1900-July 23, 1920. Alford Sherman, December 12, 1872-February 8, 1910. Now, this is going to be, I believe, this is an old one for a J. Johnson born October 12, 1875-died August 5, 1904. This has Mullie or Willie, no yeah Mullie it looks like J. Johnson.
I'm going to move back over to the left hand side of the cemetery, next row which must be row 7 and the first marker there is for my grandmother, my father's mother, Lizzie M. Jones, March 27,1889-November 22, 1959. Let's see, I don't see anything else kind of in that row so I'll move back one more row, again starting on the left is a stone for Mother Maddie Price, May 15, 1871-May (I don't know maybe the first one was May 16, 1871 to May 15, 1926). To the right of that is Glenad, wife of A. E. Sherman, November 12, 1893-May 8, 1923. To the right of that, Amos E. Sherman, July 11, 1887-October 7, 1941. Just to the right of that, slightly back is an old one, Roy and Sophia (Roy is on the left April 22, 1899-April 4, 1918), Sophia, September 30, 1862-March 8, 1918. I cannot decipher a family name on that one but I'm sure someone here in the community will know. Moving on back there is a bit of an expanse here. I would guess that there are probably people buried ... well, I don't know, perhaps ... people buried here but graves aren't necessarily marked. I'm walking back over towards the left to see if I can pick up another marker and go down one more layer.
George T. W. Jones, January 1, 1884-December 18, 1953. James C. Bannister, 1884-1951 is to the right of that. I'm going to go back one more row and this one is for C. W. Bolland, husband of Ophelia (spelled) Bolland, October 24, 1888-June 11, 1954 and Mr. Bolland has a footmarker here. Just behind the footmarker and in front of the telephone pole is a tree. Now I know that I have an infant sister buried I believe somewhere in this corner of the cemetery but there is no marking there. To the right of the footrest for C. W. Bolland is a metal stake that once would have held a funeral home plaque but the plaque is missing. To the right of there is a stone for Grandmother Elizabeth G. Johnson, December 21, 1877-April 15, 1960. To the right of that is a stone for James R. Sherman, VA Cpl US Marine Corps Res, April 22, 1924-October 13, 1958. And that is the last marker I see here and this one is just to the left of a pine tree. I'm going to walk across to make sure that I haven't forgotten or missed anybody. I see a couple that I missed which sits just above the clump of trees next to the last marker that I mentioned. This one is for Mary R. Murphy, October 16, 1898-July 14, 1938. Howard C. Eaves, March 9, 1903-June 9, 1935 and a footmarker that sits right in front of that clump of trees.
I doesn't look as if anyone is buried in this very front right hand corner of the cemetery and where I am standing now is almost to the extreme right. This is where the hearse drives in (I've been here a few times over the last several years) to bring the body as close to the burial site as is possible.
So that's pretty much it. This is my walk down memory lane today, August 12, 2001. It's a beautiful day, little bit warm. Very peaceful around here.
At the entranceway to the cemetery sits a memorial to people who have died in the coal mines and let me see if I can .... "This monument is dedicated to the coalminers of Montgomery County and to those coalminers who lost their lives in pursuit of their livelihood in the underground mines that are part of the heritage of many of the citizens of this county. Dedicated April 18, 1994.
I can see on the far left McCoy, Virginia Superior Anthracite Mines Inc. which was known as Big Vein. And I'm looking through to see any familiar names and I see one: Isaac Theodore Eaves lost his life on February 6, 1953. I don't see any other familiar, Wake Forest names there.
In the center of the Memorial is McCoy, Virginia Great Valley Anthracite Coal Corporation. I know there was this big explosion on April 18, 1946 during which 12 miners lost their lives. By the way, the dates on the Big Vein Mines began with Andy Jones in 1928 and there are several coal mines which are part of Big Vein. November 7, 1957 at Poverty Creek Coal mine is the last entry there and that was for a Robert Linkous. At the Great Valley, August 25, 1928 is the first entry and September 19, 1946 with John Howell, the last entry.
Merrimack Virginia, Virginia Anthracite Coal Company's Mine, 1905 beginning with Jerry Bane and the last one there is February 7, 1930. There are five Linkous mentioned there; the last of them was Alexander in February 7, 1930. In the Bluefield Coal Mine the first is 1933 with another Linkous and January 1939 with Louis Duke Harris, Price Mountain Shoal Creek Mine 1915, James Campbell Price, Dunlap Coal Mine 1932, Alford Shephard and Alford Shephard is the last name on this Monument.
End of tape.