I am a retired CPA in Dallas and enjoy accomplishing complicated and meaningful projects for my family. In Mississippi, I worked on Lane family history with my mother, Jean Lane, in the 1970s.
The oldest daughter of G.W. Lane of Fort Worth, who died in 2007, I have fond memories of spending annual summer vacations with my large Lane family at the old home place of Ira and Bertha Lane in the Rosebloom community of Tallahatchie County.
The July 4 reunions continued there until 1981, even though my grandparents were gone by 1966. One uncle, J.K. Lane, still lives next door and inspired my current project.
He was always told that his grandparents, George and Elizabeth Lane, were buried at PeaRidge Cemetery and he was concerned that he had never been able to find markers with their names. His father was the youngest of their 10 children, and they were gone before J.K. was born. As many of you know, PeaRidge Cemetery is in Grenada County, on the line with Tallahatchie County.
Since my retirement, most of my visits here are spent with my uncle and his wife, Rachel Lane. As her schedule allows, their daughter, Marila Lane Wall, the other CPA in the family, joins in the fun.
Last October, we searched for Lane gravestones and found none at PeaRidge. Returning to Dallas, I reviewed my 1970s Lane family history notes, subscribed to Ancestry.com and committed to an extensive research project. My 1970s notes said that my Lane great- grandparents were buried at PeaRidge. On FindAGrave.com, the only “Lane” burial included for PeaRidge is for a baby boy, Shellie Guy Lane (1902-1903). Those entries were created by Herby and Amy Bloodworth, so I contacted them for help.
Searching multiple internet sites, I learned websites related to graves were based on visible gravestones. Earlier photos of the less-broken Shellie Guy Lane 1903 concrete gravestone revealed that his father was Lee Andrew Lane, Angela and Marila’s great-uncle. Looking at the Smith Cemetery Lane gravestones online, I found eight of their 10 children.
I requested death certificates from the Mississippi State Board of Health’s Department of Vital Statistics. The one for the grandmother of J.K. Lane says Elizabeth Lane died Dec. 10, 1920, and was buried at PeaRidge. Eureka! Knowing that she and her husband’s unmarked graves were likely in the open spaces next to their grandbaby, I notified my sisters and cousins.
Using probes, cemetery caretakers Steve and Calvin Ross, David Rounsaville and Herby had been unable to find anything in the locations my research indicated. Knowing it is easier to get information onsite, I came here for a week around the Smith Family Cemetery reunion.
Marila was able to find a company with special equipment to locate old pine box graves. With cemetery caretakers present on May 7, we met at PeaRidge and found the very deep, unmarked graves of J.K. Lane’s grandparents, George Convel Lane (1849-1910) and his wife, Elizabeth Carpenter Lane (1855-1920). They were immediately marked with chalk and survey flags. Later that day, laminated signs were used to mark the graves, until pretty granite gravestones can be installed. My team will also have the 1903 baby gravestone professionally repaired, especially since it was our best clue as to the location of his grandparents’ graves.
My second priority was finding the graves of Ocie/Osey and Spencer, who were not visible with the other eight at Smith Cemetery.
Studying census records, old editions of The Mississippi Sun at Newspapers.com, as well as death certificates obtained from the state, I found that Occie Lane died at his Rosebloom home Dec. 19, 1930, and was laid to rest the following day by the side of his sister, Mattie Ross, at Smith.
A death certificate showed that Spencer Lane died Aug. 30, 1945, at Whitfield.
With cemetery caretakers Steve Ross and Herby Bloodworth observing on May 7, the technician confirmed the unmarked grave of O.C. Lane, beside his sister, Mattie, at Smith.
Using the professional equipment in other open areas of the Lane section of Smith Cemetery, and unmarked grave was found and presumed to be that of Spencer Lane.
The graves were marked with chalk and survey flags, temporary grave markers were installed, and, along with silk flowers, they were appropriately placed during the annual Smith Family Cemetery reunion. Nice engraved granite gravestones will be ordered and, hopefully, a bench to memorialize George Convel and Elizabeth Carpenter Lane.
If you are a descendant of William Edward Lane (1873-1959), James Judson Lane (1876-1962), Lee Andrew Lane (1878-1971), Mary Evelyn Lane Bloodworth (1881-1972), Dee L. Lane (1884-1916), George Jenkins Lane (1895-1980) or Ira Meeks Lane Sr. (1898-1966), you are also related to their brothers, Spencer and O.C. Lane.
As Mississippi did not start keeping birth and death records until 1920, and no church records have been found, I am asking Lane descendants to look for old family Bibles and photos in hopes of more accurately concluding 1880s birth dates of Spencer and O.C. Lane and to learn the given name of O.C.
Anyone who has any interest in this project may contact Angela at 214-793-5154 and AngelaLaneRobertson@gmail.com.