by Shirley Simmons
Two local citizens, Rick and Vicki Powell, called the attention of the Fuquay-Varina Museums staff to a gravestone located in the overgrown old family cemetery off Judd Parkway. As they were walking and observing the beginning of grading for what would become Holland Station, curiosity got the better of them and they studied closely the stones located in that small area. ONLY ONE bore engraved information. That stone had been turned over, or had fallen over. Upon their inquiry we realized that name was not familiar to any of former records.
The construction company was careful to preserve the area and the several unmarked stones which appear to indicate graves. A wonderful iron fence encircles the area with a gate for entrance into the sacred ground. This touched our hearts and inspired us to begin to search.
Whose grave was this? How did it come to be?
This research led us down several paths over the past couple of years. While we still lack definitive answers to parts of the puzzle, Mary Winiford Tutor has become a real person. As we share what we have learned, our hope is that descendants may come forth with additional materials which either confirm or correct the assumptions of our research.
According to North Carolina Marriage Records, M. W. Smith wed S. G. Tutor on January 29, 1871 in the Smith residence in Wake County. According to her tombstone, Mary Winiford Smith was born January 17, 1847 and died March 28, 1888. The twenty-four year old bride lived only 41 years and 71 days.
Someone cared enough to provide an engraved stone to honor her life. Who did this? Why was she buried in this lonely, neglected place? Or was it always neglected?
There is besides the record of their 1871 marriage, their listing in the Federal Census of 1880. Children listed in order are: Laurina F. (8), Mary H (7), Mary T. (5), Ida A (2) and Nancy I. (2). The latter appear to be twins. The family is living in Buckhorn, Harnett County and farming for their living.
Our next discovery was that there were two boys born after the 1880 census, Earlie Tutor born about 1882 and Erwin Edgar Tutor born in 1885. In a court document in 1900 as heirs to their grandfather’s estate, these two are named. The court appointed a guardian ad litem for grandchildren of Etheldred and Mary.
At some point after the death of Mary Winiford, this young family removed to Durham where Samuel is listed as a weaver in a Durham City Directory. Fortunately, his obituary was recorded in the Biblical Recorder. Samuel Green Tutor, born in Harnett County, July 29, 1850, “died at his home in East Durham, May 28, 1898 after four or five weeks of a lingering illness.”
The obituary says that he had professed religion and associated himself with Macedonia Baptist Church in Harnett County. He had come by church letter and became a charter member of East Durham Baptist Church. The obituary further states he left a widow and several children. No recorded grave site appears for him although it is presumed to be in Durham.
We did find a marriage record of S. G. Tutor and Mrs. Helen Jones in Durham on January 23, 1889. There is also a court record of June 10, 1898 which allowed and set aside some personal property as a yearly allowance to Mrs. M. H. Tutor, widow of S. G. Tutor, for support of herself and one child under fifteen years of age. Erwin appears to have been that minor child. Erwin Edgar did work in the mills of Durham along with Ida and Nancy Isabelle according to later city directories.
What about the husband, S. G. Tutor?
A family headed by William Madison Tutor, born and living in Cumberland County in the Federal Census of 1850 answers that puzzle piece. With his wife, Harriet, their household lists children: William, Dorcus, Hixey, James, Reuben, Jessee and Samuel (age 0) By the 1870 census, the Tutors live in Buckhorn, Harnett County and Samuel Green is 20 years old the year before his marriage. Another son, Alfred Young was born in 1853.
An interview with Alfred’s descendant, Jimmie Tutor, identifies him as “Ap” Tutor. Jimmy confirms that there was an Uncle Samuel named for a brother of William Madison who emigrated to the southern United States. This uncle gave the land for Macedonia Baptist Church near Duncan.
The William Madison Tutor family cemetery is located south of Duncan, North Carolina. In this cemetery are buried eight family members. The parents, Madison and Harriett, son Alfred and his wife Lottie, two of Alfred’s (Ap’s) children and two old aunts (names unknown) are interred there. Jimmie did not know who these “old aunts” might actually have been.
What of the Etheldred Smith family to which Winiford belonged?
The Federal census records of 1860 identified a family headed by Etheldred Smith living in Wake County with a wife Mary and seven children. Etheldred was first located in the 1840 census living in Middle Creek with a wife and two female children under 5 years. No record seems to appear for him in 1850 which would have been the first listing of all family members by name. However, in 1860 his seven children are identified by name: Sarah, Casandra, Richard, Elizabeth, Winiford, Lewis and William. All except Sarah and Winiford are listed in the partition of their father’s property in 1900. We can assume that Sarah has died, too.
Sometime between the 1860 and the 1870 censuses, Etheldred appears to have died. Mary heads her household in 1870 with various children and grandchildren in her household. Exact dates of death for Etheldred and Mary have not been located however, she is not living by 1900. She appears to have been Mary Ann Cerf of Cumberland County if the records are correct in her children’s death certificates.
Where did they actually live?
Would it have been on the property with the graveyard now located inside Fuquay-Varina along Judd Parkway?
Addresses in Middle Creek do lack consistency in the various census records until there appears a court record of a land dispute which arose in 1900. A third party, Archie Smith and wife claim that Mary A. Smith (Widow) mortgaged her land to them. The suit between her children who claim she repaid the mortgage vs. Archie and other children on his side seeking settlement is brought in Wake County Superior Court. That document states that the late Etheldred Smith was the owner of the said 75 acres and lived there for more than twenty years.
At the time of the family dispute over the partition of the property of Etheldred in 1900, Lewis and wife Monique, Elizabeth Francis and husband Alvin D, Senter, Richard P. Smith (unmarried) and Cassandra Smith (unmarried) and the children of Winiford, Lorena Tutor Abernathy and husband, Mollie Tutor Hays and husband, Nancy Isabelle Tutor and Iva Tutor are on one side. On the other side are William Smith and the two Tutor sons, Ervin and Earlie, and Stella Smith, niece of William, and the Archie Smith couple claiming the mortgaged property to be theirs.
The court resolution is to appoint three commissioners (neither related by blood or marriage to any of the parties) to survey and partition the 75 acres into seven shares as nearly equal in point of value as possible. All three commissioners lived in the area of what is now Fuquay-Varina: B. D. Cotton, W. H. Holland, and B. G. Ennis. (Interestingly, the daughter of Archie Smith appears later to marry into the Holland family.)
The task was accomplished and the matter settled. The lots were numbered and apportioned to the children. The lot number 7 was allotted to Lewis. When Lewis Henry Smith sold this share to J. M. Judd in 1908 the parcel contains 9.5 acres more or less. When Dr. Judd deeded property to his daughter Edith Judd Parker in 1942, one tract of land, listed as # 7 in the division of the Etheldred Smith property containing 9.5 acres, identfies one of the barns as that “nearest the grave yard. “ The property as deeded to Holland Station Developers by the Parkers did include this cemetery which the developers have set aside inside a fence.
Whose graveyard was this?
The Parkers say they were not aware of the cemetery within the wooded area until after the sale to the development company. The indication is that the cemetery was totally forgotten and abandoned except for the notation on the Judd deed. The only marked gravestone is that of Mary Winiford Tutor who died in 1888.
The North Carolina Cemetery Commission has no listing for this cemetery in Fuquay-Varina nor of identifying any graves. After checking they can find no information. Cemetery records are done by location more than by individual names their office told us. Most of this research is done by volunteers who document the names recorded. Other Smith cemeteries of Fuquay-Varina do have names listed and can be ruled out as being this one.
When we first began the research into one Mary Winiford Tutor, our assumption was that she died while living on this site as a tenant family. Further research seems however to place the couple as living in the Duncan area during her marriage. The Tutor family has extensive ties to that area of Harnett County according to Jimmie Tutor.
Speculation and the presence of the tombstone seem to indicate that this was actually the home of the Smith Family. The daughter of Etheldred and Mary Smith was buried in their Smith family cemetery and given a marker clearly identifying her grave.
The census records of 1880 list the mother, Mary, as living. Our assumption is that she outlived Mary Winiford but we don’t know. If she was buried in this cemetery between 1880 and 1900 the family did not mark her tombstone. No resting place has been located for Etheldred either; however, he would have died before 1870 and before this daughter. Just how many graves might be identified within this graveyard, cemetery research experts would have to investigate but clearly there are graves in addition to Mary Winiford Tutor.
Our research shows that Cassandra Smith and Sarah Smith (sisters of Mary Winiford) along with their mother and father could possibly be buried with unmarked graves in this graveyard. This speculation is based upon our inability to locate their graves elsewhere as we can of other family members. The property was still undivided at that 1900 point so the family was still living here and disputing who inherited what. The property is noted as “Smith Property” in the Judd/Parker deeds.
Was there a Smith homestead here?
Since the partition papers state that Etheldred had lived on the property 20 years, where was his home? Would he have built or owned a home? Would it be near the family graveyard?
The Parkers know that the house near the graveyard was listed as a tenant house when Dr. Judd acquired the property from Lewis in 1908. They know that Dr. Judd made additions to the house in 1913 and 1926. Whether he demolished an original dwelling or added to an original structure is not known by current owner, Gerald Parker. Again based upon common practice, the family graveyard was generally located near the family dwelling. The question may remain ambiguous, a supposition.
Our BEST research and speculation is that Mary Winiford Smith Tutor, young wife of Samuel Green Tutor was buried in her Smith family graveyard in 1888. There could at least be four other individuals who may occupy this burial site for whom gravesites elsewhere have not been found. How many grave sites might be proven to be on the site remains to be considered/determined.
Thankfully, the graveyard will be respected! Perhaps some unlocated family resource may be found to further solve the historical puzzle of who is buried here? Meantime, we are grateful that the Holland Station Development has preserved the site and the North Carolina Cemetery Commission is now aware of the existence of these graves.
Sources: Federal Census Records, Wake County Superior Court Records, Wake County Register of Deeds, NC Cemetery Commission, Interview Jimmie Tutor, Biblical Recorder, July 20, 1898, Interview Charles & Anna Parker, Photos by Vicki and Rick Powell. Durham City Directories, North Carolina Death Certificates, Durham County Estate Record June 14, 1898, Melissa Timo, Historic Cemetery Specialist.
All photos: Fuquay-Varina Museums Collection, Courtesy of Vicki & Rick Powell for the museums.