Gravestone Inscriptions in Northampton County, Virginia
During the late 1930s, Mrs. Littleton Mears, of Holly Brook, Eastville, Virginia, served as director of the National Youth Administration program for Northampton County. Because she was intensely interested in Eastern Shore history and genealogy and deplored the destruction of so many family burial plots, she organized a group of young people to copy the inscriptions from private grave markers. They recorded some fourteen hundred stones, and the typewritten compilation was placed in the county courthouse.
Northampton County has the distinction of owning the oldest collection of continuous court records in the United States: the first entry is dated 1632. Although these records are excellent, birth and death dates are often difficult to find, as vital statistics were not routinely kept until the very end of the nineteenth century. Thus the tombstone record of birth and death dates became a much-used and valuable resource.
As a means of celebrating the nation's bicentennial, the Northampton County Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution took as a project the verification of the earlier compilation of tombstone inscriptions, because some inaccuracies and omissions had been discovered. As the work progressed, it became evident that many extant burial plots had been omitted from the list, and the present compiler was encouraged to attempt to locate and transcribe all gravestones in the county. This decision was not intended to discredit in any way the original work, for during the thirty-five years or so since it was compiled, some of the recorded stones had already disappeared.
Compiled by Jean Merritt Mihalyka. Edited by Alice B. Deal.