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Orrick Cemetery - 100th Anniversary

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History & Genealogy

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Orrick Cemetery

Orrick Cemetery is the only surviving African-American cemetery that is still active in Winchester, Virginia.

It will be celebrating a century of incorporation on April 13, 2022, but has served our community for over two centuries.

Presenter Brenda Nelson will give a comprehensive history of Orrick Cemetery.


About the presenter: 

Brenda Nelson

Brenda Burton Nelson was born in Portsmouth, Virginia. She attended public schools there, graduating from I. C. Norcom High School (“the Mighty, Mighty Greyhounds”!), class of 1965. She commuted across the water from Portsmouth to Norfolk every day to attend and graduate from Norfolk State University, formerly Norfolk State College. She earned a B.S. Degree in Elementary Education. After graduation, she married Ronald Nelson, a Winchester native. He was a marine, a Vietnam veteran guarding the gate at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard in Portsmouth.

Brenda and Ron moved to Winchester, where they started a family and Brenda commenced her teaching career in the Winchester Public Schools. Ron started his thirty-three-year association with Rubbermaid Commercial Products. They have two children, a daughter Sonna and a son Brian, and three grandchildren. Brenda retired in 2002, after thirty-one years of teaching in the Winchester Public School System.

Since retiring, Brenda has been researching her and her husband’s genealogy. The fruits of this research have been discovering some wonderful people she is related to and is so grateful to have gotten to know and love. Her research has become so important to her as she continues to learn, attend conferences, and master techniques unique to genealogy. She has shared what she has learned and the family she has researched by writing and publishing three articles for the Fairfax Genealogical Society Newsletter.

Brenda’s latest project had been researching the history of the Orrick Cemetery here in the City of Winchester.