Mrs. Ethel A. Cohoon Nevels
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Mrs. Ethel A. Cohoon Nevels

Mrs. Ethel A. Cohoon Nevels

Photo: Nadia K. Orton, 2013. All rights reserved.

The funeral of Mrs. Ethel A. Nevels, eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Cohoon, was held Thursday, November 30, at 3 p.m., from Macedonia A. M. E. Church, and conducted by the pastor, Rev. L. T. Watson, D. D., assisted by Rev. Jas. A. Harrell, D. D., pastor of the First Baptist Church. The eulogy from the family was read by Mr. W. W. Newby, superintendent of the Sunday School. The choir of the church sang beautiful and appropriate selections, and a solo “Some Sweet Day, bye and bye,” was sung most effectively by Miss M. J. Holmes.

The funeral was largely attended. Notably among the floral designs was a crescent from the Suffolk Chapter of the V. N. & I. I. Alumni Association, of which the deceased was a member.

The active pallbearers were: Messrs. Jas. A. Estes, Henry Hunter, John Marshall, Jr., George Bryant, J. E. Peele and Wilbur Roper. Honorary: Prof. A. J. Brown, Messrs. Robert Williams, William T. Wrench and Walter Lee. Interment was made in Oak Lawn Cemetery.

Card of Thanks

Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Cohoon and family take this means of expressing sincere thanks and appreciation for the numerous courtesies and sympathy extended them, by many kind friends, during their sad affliction, in the death of their devoted daughter and loving sister, Mrs. Ethel A. Nevels. They wish also to express their gratitude to those who sent beautiful flowers and all who helped in any way to lighten the weight of their great sorrow. Mr. and Mrs. W. J. Cohoon, and Daughters, Miss M. C. Cohoon and Mrs. C. Bernard Gilpin.”1

Mrs. Ethel A. Cohoon Nevels was born about 1882, in Suffolk, Virginia. She was the daughter of Mr. William J. Cohoon (ca. 1852-1938), grocery merchant, and Ira Day Cohoon (ca. 1860-1942), the granddaughter of Martha Ricks (ca. 1830-1913), and great-granddaughter of Abram Eppes (b. ca. 1810), and Priscilla “Silla” Eppes (b. ca. 1810).

In the 1900 Census, Ethel was documented in a residence on Pine Street, Suffolk. The family household included father William, aged forty-four, mother Ira, aged thirty-seven, and sisters Mattie, sixteen, and John Alberta, fourteen.2 All three sisters attended school. Ethel later attended and graduated from the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute (Virginia State University) in Ettrick, Virginia. In 1903, at Suffolk, Ethel married Mr. James Charles Saco Nevels of South Carolina, attorney, and son of Peter and Betty Perry Nevels. A daughter, Alverta Celia Nevels, was born to the couple in 1911.

Normal Class of 1902, Virginia State University. Virginia State University Digital Archives Collection
Virginia State University, ca. 1907. Virginia State University Digital Archives Collection.
Ettrick historical marker. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 14, 2012. All rights reserved.
Virginia State University, ca. 1910. Virginia State University Digital Archives Collection.
Ettrick historical marker at “the Rocks.” Virginia State University. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 14, 2012. All rights reserved.
Photo: Nadia K. Orton, April 14, 2012. All rights reserved.

Ethel A. Cohoon Nevels passed away from complications of chronic nephritis on November 29, 1916, in Petersburg, Virginia. She was laid to rest on December 1, 1916, in the Cohoon Family plot, Oak Lawn Cemetery, Suffolk, Virginia. To date, her grave has not been identified in the cemetery.3

Grave of Mattie C. Cohoon, sister of Ethel A. Cohoon Nevels, Oak Lawn Cemetery, Suffolk, Virginia. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, 2013. All rights reserved.

Ethel’s daughter, Alverta Celia Nevels, married Mr. William Alexander Morris, Jr., on October 21, 1931, in Manhattan, New York. In 1949, Alverta became the director of Special Collections at Florida A & M University in Tallahassee, Florida. She served in that capacity until 1978. Alverta Celia Nevels Morris passed away on May 2, 2000, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. She is interred in Culley’s MeadowWood Memorial Park, Tallahassee, Leon County, Florida.4

Ethel’s husband, James C. S. Nevels, passed away on May 3, 1938, Manhattan, New York. He was later interred in Silver Mount Cemetery, Sunnyside, Richmond County (Staten Island), New York.

Mrs. Alverta Celia Nevels Morris, ca. 1949. Florida A & M University.
Mr. James C. S. Nevels (1872-1938), courtesy A. Miner.

  1. Source, available upon request to the Sacred Grounds Project, Inc.
  2. Ancestry, “1900 U. S. Census,” database online, Ancestry ( : accessed 5 September 2020), Virginia, Nansemond, Suffolk, Dist. 0030, p. 11, citing “Year: 1900; Census Place: Suffolk, Nansemond, Virginia; Page: 6; Enumeration District: 0030; FHL microfilm: 1241719.”
  3. “Virginia, Death Records, 1912-2014” database with images, Ancestry ( : accessed 5 September 2020), certificate image, Ethel A. Meads, 29 November 1916, no. 26771, citing, “Virginia Department of Health; Richmond, Virginia; Virginia Deaths, 1912-2014.”
  4. South Florida Sun Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida), 11 May 2000, p. 23B, c. 2, image copy, Newspapers ( : accessed 5 September 2020)
Nadia Orton

Professional genealogist and public historian. Graduate of Duke University. President of the Sacred Grounds Project, Inc. Studying historic African American cemeteries and communities.

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