Monday, September 14, 2009

Stokesland Cemetery - Pittsylvania County - Danville, Virginia

This is a view to the north. The highway across the tracks is US 29 business in Danville, Virginia. The old road here ran along the railroad right-of-way (40 feet on each side from the center of the tracks) between the tracks and the cemetery line. This old stage road ran from Atlanta to Washington, D.C. The railroad was completed here in 1864 to connect Virginia with the other southern states.

The Stokesland Cemetery, now in the City of Danville, Virginia is east of the Southern Railroad tracks about 3,000 feet north of the Virginia-North Carolina state line. The cemetery was deeded on 30 Jan. 1896 along the lines of Paschall Voss and Washington L. Coleman.

1860 census

This census taken 4 Sep. 1860, lists Martha S. Voss, age 20, with her father Paschal Voss, age 68 and mother Mahala (Swann) Voss, age 67. Martha married neighbor Washington L. Coleman shortly afterwards and died in 1862. The next entry is Andrew Morris, born 1878, who was living on the same farm. His wife is Susan's sister Elizabeth F. Voss. The married on 25 Oct. 1857. Washington L. Coleman and family lived on an adjacent farm southeast of the Voss family.

This census record taken on 1 Aug 1860 shows five children of Stephen Coleman who died in 1857. They were living together in the old Coleman house near the North Carolina state line. Washington Coleman, born 8 June 1827, married Martha S. Voss and she died in 1862. Martha was only 22 years old when she died.

The family believes that this a portrait of Marth Voss Coleman.

One of the early burials is said to be Martha Voss Coleman, daughter of Paschal Voss and first wife of Washington L. Coleman, who died in 1862. The Civil War was raging, when in 1863, the Piedmont Airline narrow guage railroad began buying a right of way from Danville to Greensboro, connecting with railroads in all the southern Confederacy. On May 2, 1863, the right-of-way from Danville was deeded Paschal Voss and his son-in-law Washington L. Coleman. The railroad went through 482 feet (.45 acre) the land of Pascal Voss and continued south through 1,113 (3.4 acres) of land belonging to Washingon L. Coleman. The railroad continued through land belonging to Parmelia and Susan Coleman which was left to them by their father Stephen Coleman who died in 1857. Their land extended into Caswell County, North Carolina. They did not marry and lived in the old homeplace near the state line where the Collins' Rock Quarry began operating. The quarry began early. Ann Evans found a clipping about the quarry being used to supple stone for paving the road from Danville to Greesnboro before 1900.

It is said that there were graves was on the right-of-way, but the railroad agreed to leave it as long as no others were buried near the tracks.

There is no tombstone, but according to Mrs. Birdie Coleman, a grand daughter of Washington L. Coleman, Martha's grave is marked by two evergreen bushes at the head and foot. There are two large boxwoods on the north side of Washington L. Coleman. They have grown together. We now believe that this is the grave of his first wife Martha Voss. On the north side of these boxwoods is the tall marker for Martha's parents Paschal and Mahala Swann Voss

Martha's brother James O. Voss, born March 8, 1835, was buried here just a few years later. He was killed in the Confederate arsenal explosion near the Danville Depot on April 17, 1865.

Another brother, also a Confederate veteran, William Milton Voss (January 10, 1846-January 21, 1926) lived to be 80 years old before he was buried here.

Paschal Voss (June 8, 1812-July 20, 1900) was a son of Greenberry Voss (1775-1848) and Elizabeth Swann Voss (1778-1852). His is the tallest and most prominent marker in the cemetery.

Mahala Swann Voss (1818-1885), wife of Paschal Voss.

This is an 1884 map of the railroad and Danville-Greensboro (US 29) at the state line just south of the Stokesland Cemetery. Note the "Old Coleman House" which was probably where Stephen Coleman lived and died in 1857. His land extended into Caswell County, North Carolina. "Misses Coleman" on this map are Stephen's daughters Permelia M. and Susan R. Coleman, who never married. Their brother Washington L. Coleman (1827-1903) lived on a tract northeast of this area. His house, located where Corning Glass was built in 1962, was torn down to build the factory. It appears that the Piedmont Railroad, which was completed by the Confederate government in 1863 cut through between the "Old Coleman House" and the old road from Danville to Greensboro, North Carolina.

According to the family, this is Willia Victoria Tally Coleman (1845-1930)

The boxwoods next to the grave of Washington L. Coleman mark the head and foot of Martha Voss Coleman's grave. Martha and Washington were maried on February 13, 1861 and she died in 1862. On January 1, 1865, Washington married Willie Victoria Tally. She died in 1930 and was buried here.