Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation, Community Meeting – March 20, 2019

Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation, Community Meeting – March 20, 2019
(l-r) Fred 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.

The Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation

Preserving African American History of Suffolk, Virginia with Integrity

Oak Lawn Cemetery approved for state funding

From the board of the Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation: Special thanks to: the African American community of Suffolk, Virginia; 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, Del. Hayes, Jr. (Dist. 77), Vice-Mayor L. Bennett, and Councilman C. Milteer,

Dedicated to the memory of Deacon George Lee Richards, Sr.

Duke Magazine (Winter 2018): Article featuring Oak Lawn Cemetery


The Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation

Preserving African American History of Suffolk, Virginia with Integrity

Cpl. William Parks, 135th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry

Gravestone of Cpl. William Parks, Co. G, 135th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, May 26, 2018. 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.


The Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation

Preserving African American History of Suffolk, Virginia with Integrity

December 28, 2018: Community Meeting for Oak Lawn Cemetery

Pictures from the community meeting held on December 28, 2018, at the East Suffolk Recreation Center. Those present include 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
Delegate C. E. (Cliff) Hayes, Jr. (VA House Dist. 77), Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett, Councilman Curtis Milteer, and 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.

Historic Oak Lawn Cemetery Foundation 2018 All rights reserved
(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.
Continue reading “December 28, 2018: Community Meeting for Oak Lawn Cemetery”

United States Colored Troops of Oak Lawn

Unidentified African American soldier in Union cavalry uniform with cavalry saber. Library of Congress.

Private Moses Randall – Company A, 38th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry

Pvt. Moses Randall, Co. A, 38th U. S Colored Infantry. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, 2014. All rights reserved.
  • Born about 1832, Nansemond County, Virginia
  • Enlistment: January 5, 1864, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Muster: January 23, 1864, Norfolk, Virginia
  • Discharge: January 25, 1867, Indianola, Texas
  • Spouse: Ann Eliza Randall
Continue reading “United States Colored Troops of Oak Lawn”