Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Joseph A. & Jane B. (Ellis-Nelson) Collins

On April 2, 2011, My daughter and I arrived at the Hope Cemetery in Worcester, MA. We were on our Family History Trip to research and visit the gravesites of our Cully, Collins and Gilliam Ancestors.

It had been a wet, cold and windy day, but it happened to warm up a little bit when we arrived at the cemetery.  I prepared a few months before coming to Worcester, MA from San Diego, CA by printing a map and inquiring to the office the locations of where my ancestors rested.  

When I began looking, I thought that I was not going to be able to find the location as the weather kept shifting.  Even though I had a map, it was still very difficult to see the signs and compare them to the map.

Hope Cemetery was spread out, and I had to drive around to find the location. I am so thankful for my daughter Victoria, as she read the map much better than myself and guided me to where I needed to go.

Of course, we eventually found some of the headstones.  The headstones for my family were very tiny and the engraving was difficult to read as they were limestone markers.

Here is a headstone of my Great Grand Uncle Joseph A. Collins, born in North Carolina and migrated to Worcester, MA in the early 1870's after the Civil War.

Joseph A Collins
According to the marriage registrar of Craven County, NC,  Jane B. Ellis was married to Joseph A. Collins prior to Aug 20 1866. They were cohabitating as husband and wife.  In the 1900 Census, they reported they were married in 1860.

In the 1900 Census, Joseph is listed as being born in 1831 and Jane being born in 1830.  The year is difficult to determine as I have found various years.

Jane B Collins
Jane B. Collins was the sister of my 2x Great Grandmother Hannah D. (Singleton-Nelson) Gilliam.  They both carried the Nelson surname, but they both had different slave-owner surnames.

When My Great Grandmother Nora Ann Gilliam Cully, Sr. passed away in 1911, my Great Uncle Raymond Mansfield Cully, Sr. and Great Aunt Nora Ann Cully, Jr. were raised by their Aunt Jane Collins.  

According to my Cousin Ray, his father Raymond Cully dropped out of school as a teenager, so he could help provide for his Aunts household. He also took care of his Aunt Jane when she became ill.

(Note)  Jane B. Collins was mentioned in First Fruits of Freedom, by Jeanette Greenwood.


  1. That is so awesome, that you got to share this trip with your daughter. I hope as my kids get older they will show an interest in doing this.

    1. I had to take her on College tours in order to convince her to go with me...lol.

      It was worth it and she learned something.