Photography

Music by the O'Neill Brothers

       


Elizabeth (Dunston) Baskerville

April 23, 1918 ~ October 23, 2018 (age 100)

Elizabeth Dunston was born in 1918, when the 20th Century was merely 18 years old. She grew up in a
warm and loving family in Warren County, North Carolina as the third of the 10 children of John and Emma
Dunston.
She was an early graduate of Warren County Training School, receiving her diploma in 1936. Her marriage
to Eugene Baskerville was blessed with one son, Eugene, Jr. Although she found pleasure in her role as a

housewife and in assisting Eugene, Sr. with the farm, her desire for further education led her to Vance-
Granville Community College where she received a vocational diploma in Para-Professional Education. Con-
sistent with her credentials and her belief in the importance of education, she accepted a position as a War-
ren County Public School Teaching Assistant that she held for 27 years. Even while she was completely en-
gaged with her responsibilities as a housewife, farm hand, and teacher, she spent her leisure time as a seam-
stress, sewing well into the late hours of night for her church and school customers. An art enthusiast, she

further found time to create many works of art and scores of ceramic novelties that she displayed in her
home and shared with others.
Undaunted by any notions of failure, Mrs. Baskerville was determined to do her part in educating African
Americans in the process of voting and getting to the polls. Even as early as the forties (ca. 1943), she
stepped forward to undertake training that would certify her to register potential voters for the Hawtree

Township Precinct. After being turned away four times, she eventually became the first in her race to regis-
ter voters at the Precinct. She would later say of her persistence in getting the appointment, “I just wore

them down.” Then she went on to become Registrar, Chief Judge, and ultimately, Chairman of the Hawtree
Township Precinct. When she retired from her official duties at the Precinct, she continued in her mission to
get out the vote by traveling throughout the county to locate and help those who needed her assistance with
understanding the voting process - taking voting materials as her teaching aids into private homes, nursing
homes, or wherever there was someone seeking her help.

Always believing in the supportive and educational value to be gained from well-run clubs and organiza-
tions, Mrs. Baskerville held countless club membership and leadership positions, and served on numerous

boards and committees at both local and state levels. These include, but are not limited to, her services as a

member of the Warren County Library Committee, The Board of Directors for the State Farmers and Home-
makers Conference, the Political Action Council, the Warren County Emancipation Proclamation Program

Committee, the Warren County Board of Social Services, the County Board of Mental Health, the Warren
County AARP Club, Treasurer of the Warren County Chapter of Democratic Women, President of the County
Council of Home Demonstration Clubs, President of the Warren County Senior Citizens ORB Birthday Club,
and Public Relations Officer for the WCTS-NWHS Alumni & Friends Association, Inc. And in the tradition of
the best civic leaders, Mrs. Baskerville used every opportunity to bring others into these organizations
whenever it was possible to do so.
An early and longtime proponent of the Alumni Association, Mrs. Baskerville took the unusual initiative of
volunteering a loan from her personal savings to assist the organization with the purchase of the school
property from the county. This enabled the organization to receive the official title to the property, thus
paving the way for a series of major renovations that are ongoing today.

A lifelong and faithful member of the Locust Grove Baptist Church, Mrs. Baskerville was the Beginner’s Sun-
day School Teacher for over 40 years and held office in many other church organizations in the community,

the county, and the state. Notable among those were her many years of service as a Deaconess, Senior Choir

member, Bible Study Facilitator, Missionary Auxiliary Club member, President of the Pastor’s Aid Club, Pres-
ident of the Board of Trustees, Warren County Sunday School and BTU Convention Committee member, Cor-
responding Secretary and Disbursement Committee Chairperson for the Women’s Baptist Home and Foreign

Missionary Convention of the State of North Carolina, and others. Many of the current members of these or-
ganizations are women that she introduced to the organization. Today, these women are carrying on her

tradition of service.

During her golden years as a senior citizen, Mrs. Baskerville established membership with the Warren Coun-
ty Senior Citizen Center, driving herself daily until later being driven by others. She enjoyed the activities,

the camaraderie, and soon became actively involved in a line-dancing exercise program as one of the “Dream

Girls”. Her performance with the Dream Girls as a 90 plus year-old was an instant hit and a source of inspi-
ration to audiences near and afar. At 100 years of age, she was still performing.

Survived by her son, Eugene Baskerville, Jr.; sister, Lea Dunston Beshir; sisters-in-law, Louise Dunston and
Hazel Dunson; many nieces, nephews, cousins, and countless friends and admirers, Mrs. Baskerville lived
her long life trusting in God and resisting the mantle of a second-class existence for herself as well as for her
race. She has left an indelible mark in many lives and on many places in Warren County. And, as always, she
did her work with grace and dignity.

 Service Program

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