07/14/05 — Long-forgotten graves on old farm to be moved

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Long-forgotten graves on old farm to be moved

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on July 14, 2005 1:45 PM

Graves in a long-forgotten graveyard in the Stoney Creek area of the county will soon be moved to a new location, where they won't be neglected anymore.

After County Commissioner Jack Best bought the Joyner farm on Patetown Road, he found a small graveyard in a section of the property.

Best said he was considering developing the land, but didn't want to destroy a family cemetery. So he hired someone to try to find out if there were descendants of the people buried in the cemetery who could be contacted. But no living relatives could be found.

The researcher found that the oldest grave in the cemetery was from 1907 and the most recent was in 1916.

The known graves belonged to Bettie Newkirk, Ephraim Moses and Carrie Moses.

There were also several unmarked graves in the cemetery.

Best placed an advertisement in the classified section of the newspaper, giving public notice that the graves on the former Cora Pate Ray property would be moved to Evergreen Memorial Cemetery in Princeton.

The notice ran for four weeks. After receiving no response, he asked for permission from the county to move the remains.

County commissioners approved the moving of the remains June 21. Best abstained from discussion or voting on the issue.

"We wanted to find a proper place for the graves," Best said. "Where they are moving is a perpetual care cemetery."

He said that if they had found descendants he would have considered leaving the graves where they are.

"But without any relatives, there isn't anybody to take care of the graves," he said. "This way, they will be taken care of, and there is a record of where they were moved."

Best said he also was thinking of developing a piece of property in the Walnut Creek area that has an old family graveyard on it.

That one, he said, will not be moved.

"There is family involved, descendants still living in the area," he said. "And this plot goes back to the 1700s."

So his plan, whenever he develops the property, is to put a fence around that graveyard.

"There's history there, so we'll put up a plaque and make a private park out of it," he said.