The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

Local History

December 14, 2011

Lawrence and Mary Eliza Cotten Fountain remains moved from family farm

TARBORO — We are two great grandchildren who initiated this project:  Ardelia Harper Long “Dee” of Tarboro and William Buckley Fountain “Bill” of Richmond, VA.

This past June the remains of Lawrence Fountain (1832-1895) and his wife, Mary Eliza Cotten Fountain (1841-1921) were moved 3 and 3/10 miles from a cotton field on Route 33 to the William and Mary Hart Presbyterian Church cemetery in Leggett.  They were placed beside their son, William Fountain.  

Lawrence had just a few remains and Mary Eliza was buried in a metal vault.   After the cotton was harvested in October, their double headstone was moved, too.  

Like many people in eastern North Carolina, years ago, Lawrence and Mary Eliza were buried on their farm land.  It is north of the Leggett Church and inherited by their oldest child, Ardelia Fountain Harper.  It has remained in family hands.  

We made this move for the following reasons:   First, there was a risk something could happen to the tombstone or the gravesite.   Second, in 1921, Mary Eliza’s funeral service was the first in the newly built Church.  Third, visiting the new burial site would be much easier at the Church cemetery.  Fourth, these important and wonderful ancestors deserve the extra attention, such as, what the Church’s perpetual care would provide.   

Lawrence Fountain was the older brother of Almon Fountain and Mary Elizabeth Fountain, the son of Loderick Fountain and the grandson of Solomon Fountain, a Revolutionary War soldier.  Mary Eliza Cotten’s parents were John Llewellyn Cotten and Mary Pennia Tart Bell Johnson.

Lawrence was born in 1832 and made his living farming.  He started with 60 acres inherited from his father in 1854.  In 1857, he married Mary Eliza Cotten who was from Edgecombe County, also.  During the Civil War, Lawrence had chronic dysentery.   This prevented him from serving in the Confederate Army, but he was in the Edgecombe County Home Guard.  After the War, Lawrence and Mary Eliza acquired numerous parcels of land and had ten children.

Their ten children were:  Ardelia Fountain Harper, Theodore Fountain, Jefferson Loderick Fountain, Mary Etta Fountain Ellsworth, Nancy Ellen Fountain Long, Lafayette Fountain, Florence Fountain Peele, William Fountain, Lawrence Henry Fountain, and Alice Priscillia Fountain Peacock.   

After Lawrence died in 1895, Mary Eliza agreed to all of their net assets being distributed equally to their 10 children.  This interesting agreement gave their children a head start in life.   Mary Eliza lived 25 more years in the family home.  Her cash needs were covered by her children.

We worked with Funeral Director Mel Caison of Carlisle Funeral Home who dealt with county and state authorities and arranged for the actual move.  We started with an incomplete genealogical record of descendants.  After nine months spent locating as many living nearest of kin as possible, contact was made to obtain the required written permissions.

Information was sent to 43 descendants explaining this project.  We received 34 “permission forms” approving the move and no one objected.  Many sent donations to cover the cost and we paid the remaining amount owed.

Now the family’s genealogical record has been substantially updated but, we have not finished. If any readers can help us locate living descendants of the following three children. please email us at WBFOUNTS@HOTMAIL.COM:   1. Jefferson Loderick Fountain who married Mary A. King in 1890 and had seven children; 2. Mary Etta Fountain who married Joseph Franklin Ellsworth in 1881 and had seven children; 3. Florence Fountain who married John Peele in 1891 and had nine children.

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