The USGenWeb Project

Wayne County, North Carolina:

SAVE A CEMETERY

by JJudge2127@aol.com

On 21 May 2000, my husband and I found the abandoned and
despoiled cemetery in Bureau County, Illinois, where my great-
great-grandparents are buried. To stand near the fence, just
outside the cemetery, you would never know it was a burial
ground because it is so overgrown with weeds, dead brush, and
dead and fallen trees; there are places one cannot even walk
through. The cemetery is located on private property, so it is
"not the responsibility of anyone." We knew, once we found this,
that we could not walk away and leave it in it's present
condition. The current property owner inherited the cemetery
with his purchase of the land in 1973. Although, landlocked in
the middle of his bean fields, he has kept the grass road
leading to it, and has never plowed it, or near the cemetery, as
others have done in the past. (Another old family cemetery in
the same county, had the ground plowed, and the stones pushed
down a ravine; that cemetery is lost forever.) The landowner of
this cemetery, has welcomed us with open arms, and is thrilled
that someone has finally taken an interest in it. He said when
he first bought the property, he went to the county board to see
about having it restored, and they refused to help because it is
on private property. This cemetery is a little over 1/2 acre in
area. My husband and I have spent two weekends there, and are
currently organizing volunteer groups to help clear the area of
debris, so that we may try to locate the stones held within,
restore what can be, and return this cemetery to a respectable
state. It is such a shame to think these old cemeteries are
abandoned like this. These are our roots, and without the people
buried there, we would not be here today. With only weekends
available for us to work on this, and considering the condition
it is in, I suspect it will take many months to restore this
cemetery. After that, if we have to drive two hours every
weekend to maintain it, we will; as we will never allow it to be
abandoned again.
                   

Written by JJudge2127@aol.com.  Previously published by Julia M. Case and Myra Vanderpool Gormley, CG, Missing Links, Vol. 5, No. 26, 28 June 2000. RootsWeb: http://www.rootsweb.com/

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    All contents copyright 1996-2001 Diana Holland Faust.  All rights reserved. 
    Published 10 November 1996.  This page added 9 July 2000.  Revised 21 October 2001 
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