Moore Farm Lane / Little Bethel community

This is a partial history of the African-American Community in Oakland-Chuckatuck, Nansemond, Suffolk, Virginia from 1866 to 1960.

If any important facts have been omitted or misrepresented and you can supply the information contact:

Mary can be reached at 1220 Exchange Road Suffolk, Virginia 23434 by phone757 539-0904 or email


The following information was provided by Peggie Beale Cobb of Franklin.

“The following African American families lived along Moore Farm Lane (called the “Ferry Road” by the Beale family) and Everets Road to Oakland in the 1930s.

Mack Hargrave and sons, Malachi, Robert and others.

Sandy & Sarah Wooden and children, Walter, James, Bessie, Claire Crump Wooden married Booker Chapman, Opal, Sarah (“Toy”) married Dan Reid. Toy had a daughter Lois Jean. Opal’s granddaughter, Susie, married a Brown. The Wooden’s house later burned. Sandy worked at Kirk Lumber Co. and “Toy” once kept Lynn as a child.  They also lived on the Atlee Martin Farm.

Stephen & Polly Hall lived in a two story house on the Chuckatuck side of Little Bethel Baptist Church. This house burned, too. They had a grandson, Al.

Robert & Romine Strong – granddaughter Mildred

Louis Hicks – lived in a square house with flat top on opposite side from Audubon Road.

Mack Jordan lived on the corner of Everets Road and Audubon Road. House was torn down in 2010.

Hobert & Bessie W. Graves – Their daughter, Eva Gee, played at Little Bethel. House was on right after passing Audubon Road up steep driveway. Hobert worked at KLC.

Albert & Winnie Glover – intersection of Route 10 and Everets Road. Ran a small store – 2 story building – lived upstairs. Albert also farmed. They had a son, Sammy, as well as other children.

Louis Bolling – lived on “Ferry Road” in “Aunt” Mag Joyner’s house (after she died) – 2 stories; beyond the Woodens on the Route 10 side. Mag Joyner delivered Peggie Ann.

George Crump lived on the Chuckatuck side of Oakland Church – in front of cemetery. He was the janitor for Oakland Church.

Here are more people that were living in the area.

When I was small there was a lot of fish fries, oyster roasts, possum hunting on bright moon lit nights and fishing at night off of the James River Bridge and the Kings Highway Bridge. Always a big crowd.

There was a wire cage attached to our barn where the possums were put. Pearlie Louis from the Ferry Road would get them to eat. He was a large black man who lived next to “Aunt” Mag Joyner.

Next farm on the Ferry Road was George & Emma Gayle and adopted son Edward Gayle, whose son was Ernest Gayle. He died this spring. Note: Ralph Turner later lived here as well as Walter Daniels.

Next on the Moore Farm was George & Emma Simpson, children Tommy, William, Esther Mae, Thornton, Carlton and Ruth.There was an older daughter who was married .I do not remember her name.

Next to the Simpsons was Andrew Chapman who worked at the mill. (Last house on the right before Route 10. Andrew later lived off Moore Farm Lane to the left.)

Across the road on Rt. 10 in front of the Moore Farm was a two story house lived in by Virginia Carr and her mother and father. They moved to Chuckatuck next to the ice plant house on the hill.

Wilbur and Fannie Darden, Charles and Elsie lived on the Five Mile Farm and moved into the Carr house.

Across the road on Rt. 10 lived Russell Gayle, Lena, Russell, Jr., Rena and Jack. I think he worked on the highway.

Across the road from Oliver’s Pools was Willie Gayle, Pearl and daughter, Mary Catherine.

I remember Nat Cowling lived behind the black lodge and walked to work every day to the mill. He always was singing and whistling all the way by the house. You always knew it was him.

Uncle Matt Crumpler played the pump organ at church.He taught the choir to read music. The choir was A.L. Beale, Fannie Darden and Elsie Darden, Gladys Newman, Pearl Pruden, Janie Pruden, Wilbur Darden and Rossa Bradshaw and Dr. I. W. Johnson sang with them. Mrs. Grace Chandler said all of the Beales could sing. They could have had a choir of their own.”

The Beale girls – Aunt Molly lived in Hobson. Don’t know last name or if she had children. Aunt Dora lived in Suffolk and married a Thompson – boy and girl that I know of. Aunt Lou – twin to Uncle John – married John Lawrence and lived in Smithfield– son and daughter. Aunt Nannie married Kenny Moody – daughter Ruby. Don’t know of others. All of the girls were accomplished seamstresses.

After the George Gayles died Ralph and Odell Turner, Orin, Fay and Sherman lived in the Gayle place for years before moving to Suffolk.

I am not sure Louis Bolling was any kin to “Aunt” Mag Joyner.He just seemed to pop up there one day and nobody knew him or where he came from. I don’t know that he worked except as a handy man.”