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.

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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Suffolk, Virginia: Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation Meeting

(l-r) Frederick Greene; Wilbur Holland, Jr., Treasurer, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Reginald H. Dirtion, President, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Princess J. Benn-Coker, Worthy Matron, Nansemond Chapter 31, Order of the Eastern Star PHA; Rev. Oulaniece Saunders, Vice President, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Nadia K. Orton, Secretary/Historian, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Frances McNair, Suffolk Disabled American Veterans (DAV), Chapter 5; and Mr. Robert Holland.

Suffolk, Virginia: Community meeting for Oak Lawn Cemetery (est. 1885)

Pictures from the community meeting held on December 28, 2018, at the East Suffolk Recreation Center. Those present included Delegate C. E. (Cliff) Hayes, Jr. (VA House Dist. 77), Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett, Councilman Curtis Milteer, Deacon Sam Jones, Suffolk Virginia Disabled American Veterans (DAV) #5, Otis Richards, and members of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation: President Reginald H. Dirtion, Vice President Rev. Oulaniece Saunders, Treasurer Wilbur Holland, Jr., and Secretary/Historian Nadia K. Orton. Huge thanks to Francis McNair for all of her key assistance at the meeting, and a sincere “thank you” to all who attended in support of this important endeavor.

(l-r) Francis McNair; Reginald H. Dirtion, President, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Otis Richards; Deacon Sam Jones, Suffolk, Virginia Disabled American Veterans (DAV) #5; Councilman Curtis Milteer; Rev. Oulaniece Saunders, Vice President, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Wilbur Holland, Jr., Treasurer, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation; Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett; Delegate C. E. (Cliff) Hayes, Jr. (VA House 77); Nadia K. Orton, Secretary/Historian, Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation. 
Suffolk, Virginia, December 28, 2018.