The Grave of Mary Jane Lee West

Mary Jane West Lee

The Grave of Mary Jane Lee West

My roots run deep in Sampson County and I do try to get over there to research our family history often. For many years I had searched for my great grandmother’s grave site. Someone told me about a Mr. Barefoot who lived on Wrench Road. He had lots of knowledge of the area and family names. He has since passed away but I will always be grateful to him for leading me to her grave.

It is located in the corner of Wrench Road and Aman Dairy Road behind what was then Old Smiley’s store in a grove of scrub oak trees several yards from the road. I had to get permission to go through the field to get to the site and looking for a while I found her grave. Her stone was broken in half from many years and weather I suppose.

Her name was Mary Jane West Lee, born 1822 , lived 71 years. No other dates were on the stone. She was the widow of Lovett Lee, my great grandfather who was wounded and died during the Civil War. There is an article in Volume 2 of the Heritage of Sampson County about my great grandparents, including her picture.

Last year a cousin from Tennessee put together a Lee family reunion near Wade. I had told her about finding Mary Jane’s grave so she made time while here to go to see it. It bothered her that the woman who raised children alone after her husband was killed in the war, had a broken tombstone. We had kin folk come from all over the country to the reunion and we had planned to ask for donations to purchase a new stone for Mary Jane’s grave and from their generosity, we had almost enough to have a new stone made. My Tenn. Cousin and I would make up any difference in cost.

I was asked if I would have the stone made since I am close by and can place it on her grave. With help from my nephew and son-in-law last fall Mary Jane got a new tombstone. I placed a bouquet of flowers on her grave thanking her for her life and all those who came afterwards.