Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A gravestone mystery

(I think the map link works now!)

From an August 22, 1978 Charlotte Observer story by Dot Jackson, staff writer.

'A Child's Passing Mourned Again 81 Years Later'

    'Down in the woods behind Winterfield School, neighborhood kids play happily among the springs and little branches and muddy holes and ancient piles of accumulated wonders - old bottles and pieces of old cars and such. 
   There is what looks like the remnants of an old springhouse back in there, beyond the end of Lansdale Drive. A section of the brick spring box is still there, and the steps going down to it. 
    Some neighborhood boys were down there one day digging. There was a rock sticking up in the way. They dug around it and saw it had writing on it. They dug it out, with a good team effort, and cleaned it so it could be read. And it said:

 In Loving Memory
Of Primus P. Jr.
Son Of
P.P. and A.E. Alston
June 17, 1896
June 20, 1897

   Dot Jackson was curious and turned to the Carolina Room for more information.

   'Rosemary Lands at the Public Library came to our rescue. She found a Rev. Primus P. Alston in the city directory of 1896. He was then the rector of the Chapel of St. Michael of All Angels, an Episcopal church on South Mint Street, and lived at 328 S. Graham. Born in slavery, he died in 1910. 
   There was an obituary for the baby in the June 22, 1897, Observer.  Burial information was not included.'

'Kenny Williams (above, left), Brian and Gary Davenport and John Marus found the tombstone of Primus Alston buried in an old spring off Central Avenue.' Dot Jackson/Staff

   'The city cemetery office found a record of the grave in Pinewood Cemetery on Ninth Street; 'Section A, 1/2 of 1.'
   How the tombstone apparently got cemented into the foundation of a springhouse off Central Avenue several miles east, we may never know.'


Rev. P. P. Alston Loses a Child
Charlotte Observer, published as Daily Charlotte Observer
Date: 06-22-1897;



Anonymous said...

Rev. E.A. Osborne, who conducted the funeral, was the pastor at St. Peter's Episcopal Church at the time of the baby's death.

Maria David said...

Anon, thank you for the info!