Finding my paternal ancestors in Portsmouth, Virginia cemeteries. In the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex, we found great-great-great-grandparents, Max Orton (ca. 1850-1902), of Portsmouth, Virginia, and Jerusha Copeland Orton (ca. 1863-1928), of Suffolk, Virginia. July 4, 2007. Max Jolly Orton, Navy veteran, was born enslaved, while Jerusha Copeland was born a free person of color in (old) Nansemond County (Suffolk), Virginia. Both headstones were covered with dirt, and biological growth (lichen), and located in the rear of Mt. Olive Cemetery, the oldest section of the Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex (est. 1879). The cemetery has suffered frequent bouts of flooding over decades, which has lead many headstones sunken, and cracked.
We also discovered another possible ancestor, Miss Martha Orton, and the graves of great-great-grandparents, Arthur L. Orton, Navy veteran, and Rachel E. Orton. Both of their headstones, stamped, concrete markers, were broken in two, in the exact same spot. As their headstones have been moved from their original location, we’re not sure where their graves are in the cemetery.
Over at Lincoln Memorial, we found the graves of great-great-great-grandparents, Virginius and Mary E. (Ang) Butt Young, descended from enslaved and free-born persons of African Americans and Chinese ancestry, along with their children, great-great-grandfather, John Wesley Young, his brother Alfred Elmore Young, and his son, Alfred Virginius Young. In the rear of the cemetery rests the Dukes, Alfred Josiah Duke, of Isle of Wight County, and other relatives. All told, a banner July the 4th. The work begins….