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Whitfield, Sarah Ann

Sarah Ann Burns was born in Waterboro, South Carolina, to Phoebie Burns on September 1, 1915. Around 1920, Phoebie, her mother Essie, and Sarah Aim moved to Kenly, North Carolina to work with the L. C. Wilkinson family. They had previously worked with the Wilkinson's cook at that family's lumber mill in Waterboro, South Carolina. Sarah attended Dr. Skinner's School located in the Macedonia area of Kenly during the 1920s.

Sarah Ann married Willie Brown, and the couple lived in Lucama and Kenly, North Carolina. Willie met an untimely death, however, at age twenty-eight due to an injury he suffered while working for the railroad. In 1943, three years after Willie's death, Sarah married Lois Whitfield. The Whitfield family lived and worked on the Luther Kirby farm near Kenly. During the early 1950's, Mr. Whitfield bought a house in Kenly and the family moved there shortly before his death in 1955.

Sarah Ann was a devoted mother of twelve children: Jean, Georgia, Freddie Lee Bethea, Willie Brown, Ida Mae Brown, Sarah Batts, Carolyn W. Artis, John Whitfield, Daniel Britt Whitfield, Sina Belle W. Richardson, Donald Ray Whitfield, and Elizabeth Gayle Whitfield. She raised each to be well behaved and disciplined, and taught them independence and honesty through her plain-spoken demeanor and her industrious life-style. Sarah believed that every bed in her home should be made up and food always in the kitchen. "Ya'll go in there and get you sump’m t’eet" was often heard by the many children whose lives she enriched.

Sarah Ann worked diligently to provide for her family. She often walked miles to get to her job, enduring the hardship and discomfort for the good of her children. In 1940, Sarah entered the employment of the J. Dobbin Bailey family She became a beloved family helper and friend who cooked meals, kept the house, and cared for their son Jimmy during the 1940's and their granddaughter, Betty Bailey (Pope), during the 1960's. Sarah Ann was a welcome and helpful presence for the family during their day-to-day activities, to special events, and in times of sickness and sorrow.

When she was not taking care of her children, Sarah Ann was an active member of the Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church in Kenly where she served as usher and secretary-treasurer for many years.

Before Sarah died, she had thirty-six grandchildren, sixty-eight great-grandchildren, and six great-greatgrandchildren. Of all these, her exceptionally devoted granddaughter, "Little Sarah," was a special blessing during her later years. Sarah Ann Whitfield passed away on February 24, 2003.

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