As a reminder, Brian Grawburg will be the feature speaker at the WCGS Meeting in September. In addition, all of Joan Howell’s cemetery books are available to order online in the WCGS bookstore. —Krista
Project pinpoints gravesites before nature reclaims them
Grawburg is building a photographic record of deceased Wilson County residents.
He’s not interested in the cemeteries that are neatly kept. Those are the ones that are already well-known.
Grawburg is interested in finding the ones that have been overgrown and rest in little patches of woods in farm fields, at the edges of subdivisions, anywhere that Mother Nature has waged a battle to reclaim the plots.
“It doesn’t take long,” Grawburg said.
A cemetery can go from being well-maintained to overgrown in a matter of a few years.
“This is top priority because they are becoming nonexistent,” Howell said.
An example is the B. Ellis cemetery in a small plot hidden by trees and overgrowth that is unseen by passing traffic off Forest Hills Road in Wilson.
“There are 35 people in there, and you don’t know there is a single one in there,” Grawburg said. “That cemetery is right there.”
Grawburg said with 16 cemeteries Howell recently found and added to the list, there are about 260 known cemeteries in Wilson County.
There are estimates that there could be another couple of hundred cemeteries that are not documented in the county.
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