Portsmouth, Virginia: Finding Olivia of Lincolnsville

Map of Lincolnsville, Portsmouth, Virginia, ca. 1889. Norfolk Public Library, March 15, 2012.

The first time I came across the name Olivia Jordan Butt Smith, my paternal great-great-grandaunt, was twelve years ago. I was researching a branch on the paternal side of my family tree, the Youngs of Portsmouth, Virginia. Olivia was born in 1862, in Portsmouth, the daughter of Jordan and Lovey Butt (ca. 1829-1895). She was the sister of Mary Alice Butt Young (1865-1929), my paternal great-great-grandmother, Matilda A. Butt Colden (1856-1910), Anna Butt Schofield (b, ca. 1855), and Nancy Ellen Butt Lynch (ca. 1848-1879), my paternal great-great-grandaunts.

Suffolk, Virginia: Views of Oak Lawn Cemetery (est. 1885), August 9, 2019

Assisting grassroots efforts to preserve a historical, African American institution of Suffolk, Virginia

Gravestone of Pvt. Lamb Jackson, 2nd U. S. Colored Cavalry. Documented on Findagrave by Nadia K. Orton, January 2, 2013. Photo: Nadia K. Orton. August 9, 2019. All rights reserved.

© Nadia Orton and Sacred Ground, Sacred History, 2014-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, links, and photos may not be used without prior written permission from Nadia Orton and Sacred Ground, Sacred History. If granted, full and clear credit shall be given to Nadia Orton and Sacred Ground, Sacred History, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. See: https://info.legalzoom.com/happens-break-copyright-laws-20309.html

Suffolk, Virginia: First view of Oak Lawn Cemetery’s highway historical marker!

I’ve written the text for two highway historical markers for African American cemeteries in Virginia: the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex (est. 1879), Portsmouth, in 2016, and Oak Lawn Cemetery (est. 1885), Suffolk, in 2019. However, I never knew how they were made. Thanks to a wonderful story about the manufacturer, Sewah Studios (Marietta, Ohio), I know the answer. The historical marker for Oak Lawn Cemetery is shown briefly in this great video courtesy of WTAP News, Parkersburg, West Virginia.

Surry County, Virginia: Pvt. Harrison Spratley, 1st U. S. Colored Cavalry

Gravestone of Pvt. Harrison Spratley, Co. E, 1st U. S. Colored Cavalry. Surry County, Virginia

© Nadia Orton and Sacred Ground, Sacred History, 2014-2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts, links, and photos may not be used without prior written permission from Nadia Orton and Sacred Ground, Sacred History. If granted, full and clear credit shall be given to Nadia Orton and Sacred Ground, Sacred History, with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. See: https://info.legalzoom.com/happens-break-copyright-laws-20309.html

Pvt. Harrison Spratley was a member of Company E, 1st U. S. Colored Cavalry. According to his military pension file, Harrison was born on August 6, 1847, in Surry County, Virginia. His parents, Dawson Spratley (b. ca. 1810), and Nancy Spratley (b. ca. 1805), were free persons of color. In the 1830s, Dawson Spratley is documented on several “free negro” lists in Surry County, Virginia, working on the farm of Angelina “Angie” Edwards (b. ca. 1770).

Virginia: Thirteen New State Historical Highway Markers Approved – Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR)

(Virginia Department of Historic Resources News)

The story of Oak Lawn Cemetery will be relayed in Suffolk. Established by African Americans in 1885, the cemetery now contains the graves of numerous prominent business, religious, educational, and political leaders in Nansemond County (present-day Suffolk), as well as Civil War-era United States Colored Troops, and veterans of other U.S. wars.

Full Text of Marker: (Oak Lawn Cemetery)

(Please note that some texts may be slightly modified before the manufacture and installation of the signs. Also locations proposed for each sign must be approved in consultation with VDOT or public works in jurisdictions outside VDOT authority.)

Seven African American trustees acquired land here in 1885 and established Oak Lawn Cemetery. Community leaders interred here include John W. Richardson, president of the Phoenix Bank of Nansemond; Wiley H. Crocker, founder of the Tidewater Fair Association and Nansemond Development Corporation; William W. Gaines, Baptist minister and founder of the Nansemond Collegiate Institute; Fletcher Mae Howell, Baptist missionary; Dr. William T. Fuller, physician and banker; and William H. Walker, Tuskegee Airman. Also buried here are late-19th-century local politicians, United States Colored Troops, and veterans of World Wars I and II, Korea, and Vietnam.
Sponsor: Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation
Locality: Suffolk
Proposed Location: 449 Market Street
Sponsor Contact: Nadia K. Orton, hamptonroadsgenealogy@gmail.com.
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