Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sentimental Sunday - The ANCESTORS At Work in Tyrrell County!

I am posting this under the "Sentimental Sunday" prompt because today has been a very emotional one for me (for reasons I don't wish to discuss), and I needed something good to happen. And so it has, with a little (or a lot) of help from the Ancestors!

I haven't before written on this blog about my mother's paternal line, which hails from Tyrrell County, NC. This is a line I wasn't even aware of, until just a few years ago, due to the fact that my mother never knew her father, nor any of his family members, save a distant cousin of his who (apparently) lived in the Norfolk, Virginia community she grew up in. According to what I've been told, my grandfather, Daniel Webster HILL, abandoned my grandmother and their two children in 1938, when my mother was but 4 years old, and her brother, Howell, 7. My mother, who passed in 2013, had no memory of Daniel, at all; and my uncle's few memories of him are not pleasant. Once their father left, the family didn't hear from him, again, and it's only because of my research that I was able to inform my mother before she passed, that her father had actually died in Peterburg, Virginia in 1940 - just a couple of years after he'd left them.

My grandmother remarried in the same year of Daniel Hill's death, so I have to believe she did know of his circumstances; however, my mother maintained throughout her life that she didn't know anything about what happened to him, so I have to believe that. She would have only been 6 years old when her father passed, and she already had a new step-father, whom she loved dearly, and came to refer to as her father. I'll write more about that when I more fully introduce this line, but for now, here's a shot of my descent from Charn HILL and Grace BRYANT of Tyrrell County, North Carolina. Charn and Grace were Daniel Hill's great-grandparents.

Now, let me get to the point of this post:

Last month, I had the honor of presenting my talk, "Researching Ancestors of Color: It Takes a Village" to the Tyrrell County Genealogical and Historical Society. That visit was only my second to Tyrrell County, an area of North Carolina with which I had no familiarity before learning that I have ancestry from there. So, I went down early and did some exploring before my presentation, and when I returned home, I blogged about my visit. As a result of this post, I've received many messages from folks in Tyrrell County, offering support and encouragement with my research. One of the most exciting was a private message from Reverend Laurel Melton, Associate Minister of Chapel Hill Missionary Baptist Church, who reached out to me via Facebook. Rev. Melton took my number and agreed to call me soon since she'd read that many of my Hill (and Bryant) family members attended Chapel Hill, and are buried in the cemetery there.

Meanwhile, I posted, a few days ago, on the Tyrrell County Genealogy page on Facebook, a query about the location of my Hill ancestors' land, and a family cemetery that is named in some of their death certificates. There've been many comments, but in one, the poster asked if I'd read the "cemetery books" by Camille Everton. I had not, so the commenter suggested that I contact one Jimmy Fleming, who was said to be working to update the listings. So, I reached out to Jimmy, and he graciously offered to look for my Hills, and email me his findings. That he did, and upon receiving his email, today, I was happily surprised to see a listing for a HILL FAMILY CEMETERY in the Scuppernong district of the county, where much of my Hill family lived! Here's the listing:

Cemetery Name: Hill Family Cemetery
Town/Community: Albemarle Church Road
County & State: Tyrrell County, NC

Family cemetery located about .2 miles in a field south
of SR 1200 (Albemarle Church Rd) almost
directly across from the intersection of SR 1200
(Albemarle Church Rd) and SR 1203 (Albemarle Shore
Rd) in the Scuppernong community of Tyrrell County.
GPS Location: N35 55.626 W76 20.514

When I saw this, a Genealogy Happy Dance happened that I didn't even know I had in me!

Still dancing, I plugged the location of the cemetery into Google Earth, to see if I might get lucky enough to see the graves. I did narrow down the image and identified some potential graves, but it wasn't clear enough to be sure. I took a snapshot and made a mental note to get back to Tyrrell County as soon as possible. But ....
....the Ancestors weren't through with me yet! Guess what happened next? A private message popped up on my Facebook wall, and guess who it was????  Reverend Melton!!! Can you believe it? She was just letting me know that she hadn't forgotten me, and would be calling soon, but you KNOW I asked her about this cemetery, and guess what her response was? Well, just look for yourself!
It's. right. down. the. road. from. her!!!!!!!

Oh, my goodness!!!! I was in here dancing and screaming! Not only did Reverend Melton divulge that she knows and lives near the cemetery, but she went on to tell me that she knows the Hill family that maintains it, and that one of them is a high school classmate of hers (who she also mentioned I reminded her of). She is giving that person (my cousin?) my contact info and will encourage her to call me.  So, I'm going to "meet" one of my Tyrrell County HILL cousins!!!!

This is the area of the Hill Family Cemetery. I see something I think might be graves, but I'm not sure enough to claim them (yet). 

Oh, my gosh, I needed this today!!!!! It's been an emotional week, and a challenging day but what  I'm feeling right now on this Sentimental Sunday is pure GRATITUDE. So, thanks to the Ancestors, to God, and to all of the people who fell into place in the ultimate plan to lead me to this place at this time.

Thanks for reading!

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