From the board of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation: Special thanks to: Del. C. E. Cliff Hayes, Jr. (Dist. 77), Vice-Mayor Leroy Bennett, Councilman Curtis Milteer, Suffolk Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 5, LeOtis Williams, Frances McNair, Mike Lane, M/M Hinton (Eye Catch Photos), Otis Richards, First Baptist Church Mahan (FBC), Dr. Harry Quinton and Lt. Col. Bill Burrell (Tidewater Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.), and the staff of the East Suffolk Recreation Center. Also, special thanks to all the family members, descendants, and volunteers who supported preservation efforts for Oak Lawn Cemetery over the years.
Dedicated to the memory of Deacon George Lee Richards, Sr.
We had a great day on Saturday, February 9, 2019, at the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Open House! Thanks to all who braved the cold to honor this sacred ground, including: the members of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation – President Reginald H. Dirtion, Vice-President Rev. Oulaniece Saunders, Treasurer Wilbur Holland, Jr., Historian/Secretary Nadia K. Orton; Delegate C. E. Cliff Hayes, Jr., chief sponsor, HB 2311; Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett (Suffolk); Suffolk Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 5; Frances McNair; Lt. Col./Chaplain William Burrell (USAF), President, Tidewater Chapter, Tuskegee Airmen, Inc.; Tuskegee Airman Dr. Harry Quinton; Mike Lane, Lane Environmental Consultants; Rev. Baker; the Orton Family. Also, huge thanks to M/M Hinton of Eye Catch Photos!
(Photos: courtesy R. Hinton, Eye Catch Photos, and Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation. All rights reserved)
Introducing Cpl. William Parks, a newly found African American veteran of the Civil War. Nadia Orton, historian and secretary of the Foundation, first uncovered the gravestone of Cpl. Parks over the Decoration Day (Memorial Day) weekend in 2018. Cpl. Parks was born about 1843 in Mobile, Alabama. He enlisted on May 5, 1865, at the Ridgeway Depot in Warren County, North Carolina. At the time of his enlistment, he was described as five feet, seven inches tall, with a “yellow” complexion, black eyes and hair. Cpl. Parks mustered in on May 5, 1865, in Washington, D. C. He was promoted to Corporal on June 1, 1865 by special order, and mustered out four months later on October 23rd, at Louisville, Kentucky.
After his discharge from service, Cpl Parks returned to Warren County, and lived in the Smith Creek district with his wife, Lydia. In 1889, the family moved to Suffolk, Virginia. Cpl. William Parks passed away in 1897. His wife, Lydia, remained in Suffolk until her death on November 7, 1924. To date, we have not found her gravesite, but suspect she may be interred next to her husband in an unmarked grave.
Was Head of Bank – Many Citizens Join Family in Grief
Dr. W. T. Fuller, one of the leading physicians and businessmen of this section, died suddenly in his office in E. Washington street, here last Saturday. The exact cause of his death could not be learned.
Dr. Fuller was an academic graduate of Hampton Institute, Shaw University, Leonard Medical School, Raleigh, N. C. He came to this city from Danville, Va., and in a short time had built up a large practice. He was connected with many business ventures here. Chief among them was the Phoenix Bank of Nansemond, of which he was president. He became connected with this institution during its infancy and it has had a phenomenal success ever since. Today it is one of the most progressive banks of which the race can boast.
Dr. Fuller was in every sense a man who lived for his people. Always in the front ranks, he towered head and shoulders above the masses. No home into which he had not entered and administered to some member of this family. Few bedsides his loving hand and gentle voice, had not soothed and softened the pain which it was his pleasure to alleviate. The oldest citizens and those who knew him longest and best could not hide their sorrow. It is indeed a blow to the community.
He was fifty-five years of age, and leaves a loving wife and two daughters.
Funeral services were held at his home, 149 Pine street, Tuesday afternoon. The services were conducted by Rev. R. J. Butts. Burial was in his private lot in Oak Lawn Cemetery. The Mt. Vernon Lodge No. 48, A. F. and A. M., had charge of the remains.