I was shocked to find a newspaper article about 1,040 graves from 28 different cemeteries being moved! And that was only the first permit and early phase of the project. Other cemeteries were moved after this article, including Mays Chapel where my ancestor Tennessee Dortch and her granddaughter Lucy Cliborne were buried. I wrote the Richmond Times Dispatch requesting permission to post their article about this, because it is still copyrighted. I have not heard back, so instead I will summarize and share a link.
Ninety-six percent of the graves were unidentified, most of them reported to be slaves. The problem was, that the families who had cared for the cemeteries and knew where family was buried had moved away. The cemeteries had been neglected for decades. Only seven burials had tombstones. These burials were re-located to several churches in the area including Mt. Auburn Church Cemetery near Drewery, North Carolina. I felt this information was huge! I had no idea so many cemeteries were moved.
Here’s the 1950 newspaper Article Clipping I did on Newspapers.com.
Anne Overcash sent me these pictures of Lucy Cliborne’s tombstone. We believe that Tennesse Glover (married to Alvin Dortch) was buried beside her grand daughter Lucy Cliborne, in an unmarked grave. Tennessee’s death certificate says she was buried in Mays Chapel, but there is no tombstone for her. Tennessee was visiting her daughter Hester and got the flu. It was during the 1918 flu pandemic, although it was Oct 1919. These burials were moved.
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