In the fall of 1985 my local Little River Historical Society made a field trip to Stagville Plantation historic site in Durham County where it meets Granville County on Flat River. While we were in that part of the world, we decided to go by the Veazey cemetery in Butner, the one that is located adjacent to John Umstead Hospital.
Much to our surprise we found a nice chain link fence with a gate that was LOCKED! (I learned later that the State had erected the fence, not to protect the markers from vandalism, but to protect the mental inmates who roamed in the cemetery and might hurt themselves.) Being a weekend, we were not successful in finding a key to the gate so that we could enter the cemetery. As we drove from one public building to another, we began to notice all the names of prominent politicians who were honored by having their names placed on these buildings.
And we made note of the fact that while that entire area had been known as the "Veazey Ridge" from about 1750 to 1942, when it was transferred to the Federal Government through "Declarations of Taking," in order to build Camp Butner, there was nothing that bore the name of Veazey, not a road, not a park, nothing! This little omission began to bother me greatly.
In the Spring of 1986, the Durham Morning Herald ran a feature story entitled, "Camp Butner - Memories." This brought back my memories of visiting in the home of my Uncle Walter Veazey and Aunt Neda, who lived in the homeplace where my Daddy had been born in 1891. I also remembered visiting the camp area almost every Sunday on a "cemetery pass" and watching, from the back seat of my Daddy's 1940 Ford, the barracks being built and the soldiers marching. I wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper, mentioning my memories, and also the fact that although many persons were memorialized at Butner, no mention was made anywhere of the Veazey name.
Several of my cousins read my letter and began contacting the Planning Board at Butner to see if they would name anything "Veazey." They were not successful in their efforts. In the meantime, I found a couple of old maps that clearly showed State Road #1120 with the name Veazey Road. We made another trip to Butner to determine whether we had overlooked anything, but found that State Road with the name "Carolina Avenue," clearly marking it's every intersection.
While all of this was festering in my little brain, we had dinner with a group that included our dear friend, W. Proctor Scarboro, of Zebulon, former member of the N. C. Board of Transportation, and Jackie Murdock, who was then the Secondary Roads Officer for the State of North Carolina. Wayne told Mr. Murdock of my concern for the road in Butner. He invited me to bring my books and come to his office.
When Mr. Murdock and I looked as his enormous books of every State Road number in the State of North Carolina, we found that indeed State Road #1120 in Granville County, was correctly named "Veazey Road." Whomever had taken the liberty of having those "Carolina Avenue" signs erected had not bothered to have the DOT records changed!!!
Mr. Murdock advised me to explain this situation in a letter to the Granville County Commissioners, which I hastened to do. After some time, I received a copy of a letter to the Butner Planning Commission in which the Commissioners informed the Planner that their research showed that my facts were correct and would he please see to it that those signs were corrected.
Next I got a call from Mrs. Eva Roberts Perry, who worked at John Umstead Hospital asking what date would be convenient with me for them to erect the signs. I quickly called several cousins and ten of us were there on Friday, October 28, 1988, to witness the erection of the "Veazey Road" signs on State Road #1120.
The Veazey family remains indebted to the late Proctor Scarboro, Jackie Murdock, and the Granville County Commissioners of 1988 for seeing that we have one reminder of the family who gave up their heritage in the beginning stages of World War II, for the building of Camp Butner.
Click here to return to the:
This site is a designed and maintained site.