I realized quickly that I’d have to “think outside the box” to learn about my ancestors. I LOVE to interview people, and listen to stories about "the older days" when life seemed a little slower and simpler. I study USGS maps, plats, read chanceries, look for long forgotten cemeteries and try to help preserve memories people share with me. This blog is ad free, so it's easier to focus on sharing stories. Feel free to sign the guestbook, or join the FaceBook group. Even if we aren't related by DNA, I'd still love to hear about your research efforts and family stories. I am interested in posting (to this blog) stories relevant to the Mecklenburg-Brunswick families.

26 August 2012

Found Frank Gray's farm in Brunswick county

Frank Gray (cropped from larger picture)-1904

I have never had an obituary and a death certificate and still not know where a person was buried! Frank Gray's obituary says, "he is buried near here." It was printed in the Alberta Times. The death certificate says "farm near Alberta." The vagueness frustrated me, to say the least! How big an area in Brunswick county should I search? I've made several visits, with no results. I found the Jones cemetery on an old USGS map that doesn't have pictures yet on the Brunswick Cemetery website. http://www.brunswickcemeteries.org/HTML/jones.htm When I looked at the 1940 Census and found Frank Gray's address, I went to look at a USGS map then to look for close by cemeteries. Right where I plotted where I thought Frank should live, I saw the Jones Cemetery. I found it on current day Google map, only it looked like the road leading back to the cemetery was now missing. The USGS map was 1940 or 1950. Frank Gray was listed as owning his land. My plan was to go to the courthouse, double check that where this Jones cemetery was, was actually the place Frank owned his farm, then pull back the brush, hope it was more than field stones and take the pictures. It was the only cemetery close by on the map, Frank's mother was a Jones, even though it was a little out of the area for our Jones than I would expect. I brought clippers, rake, leather gloves and a little hand broom. But of course it would not be THAT easy!

My friend Hobson Scott Wright met me at the courthouse to help. He too is related to the Grays, through Frank's oldest sibling Martha, who married William H. Moseley. It turns out I was less than a mile off, which isn't too bad checking out a map and census page. I still wanted to know more about that cemetery. So we decided to try to see what we could see.

We found out about Frank Gray's farm through deeds: Edward Elmore bough the farm in 1870. Edward sold the land to Anderson and HV Elmore, who sold land to Frank Gray in Nov 1913. We found that a 21.52 acre piece of Frank's land was sold off (or maybe given away?) in March 1924 to Hazel Jeffries Yancy, who was Frank and Eula's daughter. Technically, Frank's step daughter, from Eula's first marriage to AM Jeffries. Also 66.7 acres to an EC Johnson, whom I've never heard of. Frank Gray died in 1941. In 1943, the remaining land was sold to JC Williams, which was 211.78 acres. There was a little piece left, about 15 acres, probably enough for the cemetery, access roads etc, not sold to JC Williams as the main part of the farm. We saw a deed of trust in 1943 on the property, right when JC Williams bought the property. It said it was "bordered on the north by Stanley Flinn; on the east by Robert Flinn; on the south by EC Johnson; (piece Frank Gray sold off while living); on the right by Virginia Raulway (should it say Railway?); on the west by RB Betterton deceased, RH James and others."  There was a special condition made when Frank Gray bought the land, that Elmore descendants could continue being buried on the family cemetery. Here is the link to that cemetery, which will show where the farm is:  http://www.brunswickcemeteries.org/HTML/elmore.htm#3

We went to the edge of where the Jones cemetery entrance was.  No one around could tell us where it was, no road was visible, it was a huge jungle, going a mile back into that just wasn't possible. Going to the edge of the Gray farm area wasn't much better. I couldn't even see anyone to ask permission for, and there were "keep out" signs. I met a family by Bethel Methodist church in Alberta. I was so happy that they knew Hazel, knew her daughter and told me how to reach her! He also told me he and an Elmore descendant had just used a Bobcat to clear out the cemetery. I'm told the area hadn't been cleared in a few decades. He said he could get me on the Gray farm (introduce me to the owners), and he had been to the Jones cemetery. He said the Jones cemetery was covered by a good 3 feet thick of brush and vegetation but it was still there if you knew where to look for it and he did. He said there were a number of tombstones at the Jones cemetery.

So I still don't know for sure where Frank Gray was buried. It would make the most sense he would be buried on his farm. But that is an Elmore cemetery, so I'm not completely sure. The Elmore cemetery wasn't on the USGS map. The mapmakers probably didn't see it, because reports listed it overgrown back then too. I'm going back in the winter to have this family take me to see both cemeteries and hopefully meet and talk to the owners to learn more about the cemeteries. Glad I found where the farm is, but the search to confirm where Frank was buried, and to learn more about his family still goes on!


Ron Jones said...

Is the cemetery mentioned in this article the Frederick Jones and Nelly Brooks Jones Cemetery on the Nelly Jones Road?

Ron Jones Greenville, NC

Julie Nielsen Cabitto said...

Hi Ron, thanks for posting a comment. The cemetery in this article is located near Alberta in Brunswick, Nelly Brooks Jones & her husband Frederick Jones are buried in Blackridge area of Mecklenburg. Here's a link to the article about that cemetery: http://juliecabitto-preservinghistoryrecords.blogspot.com/2009/07/nellie-jones-222-year-history-of-her.html