Gates County, North Carolina: Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion Church, Hobbsville

Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion Church, Hobbsville, Mintonsville Township, Gates County, North Carolina. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.

We paid a very brief visit to Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion Church today, located on NC-32, in the Hobbsville community of Gates County, North Carolina. Taking advantage of a beautiful, bright, and breezy Friday for much needed fresh air, we first made a pit stop near Whaleyville, Virginia, for organic veggies, and then drove another twenty minutes south to see the church.

Walton Grove cornerstone. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.

Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion’s cemetery is located just behind the church. The grounds were even and dry, so I explored just a bit. As is common in mid-20th century-era, African American cemeteries, the extant gravemarkers are mostly of the modern variety, composed of granite, or concrete burial vaults, with the name of the deceased featured at the top, and the name of the funeral home stamped on the base. One family plot is enclosed with a white fence, and contains a memorial bench.

Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion cemetery, facing northwest. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.
Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion Church cemetery, facing southwest. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.
Family plot, enclosed on three sides by white fencing. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.

Moving quickly, I noticed the oldest stone appeared to be for Mrs. Reba Corene Rountree Norfleet (1918-1946).

Gravestone of Mrs. Reba Corene Rountree Norfleet (1918-1946), Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion Cemetery. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.

The marker is concrete-cast, with the inscription etched in by hand prior to drying. Though faint, the words “Gone But Not Forgotten” are inscribed at the base. Per her death certificate, Reba was born and raised in Hobbsville, and was the daughter of Norfleet Rountree, and Rosalee (Rosa Lee) Twine.1 Reba married Hobbsville native Mr. John Thomas Norfleet, son of Jack and Mary Norfleet, on June 28, 1941, in Hobbsville (Mintonsville Township), Gates County. 2 Reba’s parents, Norfleet Rountree (1888-1966), and Rosa Lee Twine Rountree (1893-1963), also rest in Walton Grove. Reba’s husband, John Thomas Norfleet (1922-1989), rests in the Norfleet Cemetery, Gates County, North Carolina.3

Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion Church Cemetery, facing northwest. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.
Walton Grove A.M.E. Zion Church, rear. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.
Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 3, 2020. All rights reserved.

  1. “North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 April 2020), certificate image, Reba Corine Rountree Norfleet, 14 November 1946, no. 23296, citing, “North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates.”
  2. Ancestry,”Gates County, Marriage Licenses (1886-1963),” database, Ancestry (https://ancestry.com: accessed 3 April 2020), John Thomas Norfleet-Reba Corene Rountree, 28 June 1941; citing “Ancestry.com. North Carolina, Marriage Records, 1741-2011 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com.”
  3. “North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975” database with images, Ancestry (https://ancestry.com: accessed 3 April 2020), certificate image, Rosa Lee Twine Rountree, 10 November 1963, no. 34734, citing, “North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates.”“North Carolina, Death Certificates, 1909-1975” database with images, Ancestry (https://www.ancestry.com : accessed 3 April 2020), certificate image, Norfleet Rountree, 29 July 1966, no. 22803, citing, “North Carolina State Archives; Raleigh, North Carolina; North Carolina Death Certificates.”

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