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Thursday, April 3, 2014

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Gone and Almost Forgotten at Fairview Cemetery

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UPDATE:  Truth Revealed About African American Undertaker Buried in Fairview Cemetery - April 9, 2014

Scores of people are forgotten here including my family.  All this brush will soon turn green making the markers you see now less visible.  Why has it remained so?  Is this how we honor those who have gone on before?  I have been so heartbroken over this. Presently this burden is bigger than the few concerned and intending to correct it.

Fairview Cemetery, Robin Foster March 31, 2014

This was a difficult post to write.  In all the days I have spent researching my family, I have never come across a cemetery in such condition as that of Fairview Cemetery located at 300 Holman Street in Greenwood, South Carolina.  I first visited Fairview Cemetery in 2009 with my mother.  I fully expected to be able to identify the headstones of loved ones buried there.  There was so much vegetation, we could not even enter it.  This is an aerial map which shows what large an area the cemetery takes up:

Greenwood Maps
My family at Fairview Cemetery

The father of Senator Frank Gilbert (1934-1999), Thomas Gilbert, is buried in Fairview.  Cousin Senator Gilbert is a descendant of Beverley Vance (1832-1899), and Beverley is my 2nd great grandfather.  Beverley was a constable in 1868 and testified before the SC Senate in 1876.  Formerly enslaved, Beverley was a political leader in his community and would have been proud to know that a great grandson would be a senator of this state.  This blog  post gives some background on Beverley Vance. This area would have been part of Abbeville County prior to 1897.  According to my family oral history, Fairview was a burial place for many Johnson-Vance descendants.  I hope to identify all of them.

I was never able to attract enough attention from enough people to make a difference in the condition of this cemetery.  I have wept over  that and the fact that even though death certificate research led me to this place, it has remained impassable to me.  Five years passed.  Now the vegetation is over my head, and almost completely covered in vines.

New hope 

For the first time since my move to Greenwood, I attended the regular meeting of the Greenwood Historical Society where it was thought that I had come out of my interest in their plans to clean Fairview Cemetery, but it was the first I had heard about it.  You could imagine my excitement.  This will be a great undertaking.

Greenwood County Historical Society 

P.O. Box 49653
Greenwood, SC 29649

No one knows who owns Fairview according to the Greenwood County Assessor's office while correspondence about the property is received by them..  The last owner is mentioned in a deed from 1919.  It was part of a 14 acre parcel of land on Holman Street.  Some of the land went to homes. A portion went to establish the cemetery.  Today, some think it is property of the City of Greenwood.  No matter who owns it, something should be done.  What do you think?  Does the condition of this cemetery bear any reflection on anyone?

Fairview Cemetery, Brush and Debris, Robin Foster March 31, 2014

 I visited the cemetery on Monday, March 31.  A resident who lives adjacent informed me that there are many interred there.  A lady who used to take care of the cemetery who lived across the street passed away.  The local resident toured the outside perimeter with me, but warned me it was too dangerous to walk through.  She said she has actually seen a family pull up and remove their ancestor's casket and marker to place them some place else.  I guess that would be one resolution, but what about those who remain?

We walked behind the adjacent apartments where headstones could be seen elevated high above us.  We tried to climb, but she was worried about snake holes and me falling through a grave. All that brush on the right is part of the cemetery.

Fairview Cemetery on the right facing Holman Street, Robin Foster March 31, 2014

I went to the top of the apartment stairs next door to get this shot:



My quest

I decided that the most helpful thing that I could do was to help the historical society prove that far more people are buried there than the 56 memorials on Find A Grave.  Using FamilySearch.org, I have spent night and day in search of death certificates which cite Fairview Cemetery as the burial site.

So far, I am surprised to have documented fifty more people out of 1,100 searched so far taking the memorials on Find A Grave up to 106.   I have over 100,000 more death certificates to search through.  The odds are great that I will discover many more.

Now I have come to be interested in the stories of everyone buried there.  Not all of the people I have found below have been added to Find A Grave yet.  Among those interred there is former undertaker, James T. Percival (1872-1937). I am wondering how many people he buried in Fairview.  His family plot is one of the only visual evidences of burials from the street:

Percival Family Plot, Robin Foster March 31, 2014
Work ahead

It will take many resources to clean up and maintain this cemetery.  I hope that identifying the people whose markers I cannot even see from the street right now becomes ample motivation for those who can help.  I will eventually put all the names below on a spreadsheet and link any stories we discover about them.  I have the help of my fellow volunteers at the Greenwood County Library, and I am indebted to them for their support.  I am also grateful to the volunteers at Find A Grave who have worked to take photos on site.

Please stop for  a few moments to browse through the people below who lived real lives or died as infants and share this post to heighten awareness.  These folks could have been forever forgotten.  Many thanks go to those who are part of the push to clean this cemetery so that I can go in to see what evidence remains of my family and others.

Check back often.  I will repost this article as it is updated.  I will work each day to find and add more.  Some on the list below have not been entered on Find A Grave yet.  Visit Find A Grave to view other memorials.

Hattie Adams
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Louis Ainer
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Jane Alexander
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Howard R. Alexander
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Volley Alexander
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Nimrod Alexander
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Allen
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Perry Bacon
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Bennie Richardson Beatty
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Boozer
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Tatum Boozer
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Thomas J. Bailey
Find A Grave
Death Certificate

James H. Backus
Find A Grave
Death Certificate

Ida J. Banks
Find A Grave
Death Certificate

Matthew Banks
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Robert Henry Banks
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Rhodie Benson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Frank Bouknight
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Nathan Boyd
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Thomas B. Brooks
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Hattie Brown
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Willie Brown
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Henry Bryant
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Rev. L. S. Burnett
Find A Grave
Death Certificate

Jamie Burnett
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mae Burnett
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Steve Burton
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

George W. Butler
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Josephine Campbell
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Barbara Carr
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Helen Chambers
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Bennie Lee Chappell
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Henry Childs
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Rohada Chiles
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Nathaniel Clark
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Matthew Collier
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

John Corley
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Fannie Cothran
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Roy Crook
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Cunningham
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Edward Davis
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

James Davis
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Ruby Mae Davis
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Seymour Davis
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

W. M. Derr
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Martha Dillard
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Joan Donaldson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Jessie Durham
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Edwards
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Emma Fauntleroy
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Robert E. Fauntleroy
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Dempsie Fields
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Perry Finley
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Amanda Fox
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Annie Doris Freeland
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Gamble
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

James Gibson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Chas. J. Gilbert
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

James W. Gilbert
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

McKinley Gilbert
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Roscoe Gilbert
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Sam Gilbert
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Harriet Graham
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

John Greer
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Edna Griffin
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Grace Griffin
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Vinnie Mae Hall
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Julia Hamilton
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Emma Hayes
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Nathaniel Hayes
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Marshal Heard
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Sarah Anna Hearst
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Radie Hill
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mahala Holloway
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Scott Holman
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Bettie Holmes
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Martha Holmes
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Belle Howard
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Thos. Howard
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Emory Hunt
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Vera Irvin
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Arthur Jackson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Martha Jackson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Obir Jackson
Death Certificate
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Oliver Jackson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Bella James
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Joe Joel 
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Annie Jones
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Earl Jones
Death Certificate
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Heyward Jones
Death Certificate
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John Jones
Death Certificate
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Lula Jones
Death Certificate
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Susie Jones
Death Certificate
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Willie Jordon
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

James Leach
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Oscar Little
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

L. T. Lomax
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Sallie Lomax
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Will Lynch
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Simon Lyon
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Alile Mannon
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Delia Marshall
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mattie Mathews
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Pink Mathis
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Wilhelmena Mathis
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Ruth McClintock
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Rev. David Timothy MacDaniel
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Sam Meeks
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Henry Merkerson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lomax Metts
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lula Metts
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lucy Meriweather
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

John Misher
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Cornell Mitchell, Jr.
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Jewitt Moore
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mack Moore
Death Certificate
Find A Grave
FamilySearch Profile

Willie Elizabeth Morgan
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Alex Moseley
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Charles Moseley
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Easter Moseley
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Emma Moseley
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Moultry
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Annie Kate Nedwards This is the earliest burial for Fairfiew Cemetery found so far (1915)
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mabel Nedwards
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Ellen N. Percival
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

James T. Percival
Death Certificate
Find A Grave
Dr. Theo. E. Percival
Death Certificate
Find A Grave
Lincoln University Herald 1924

Winona Perriee
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Emma E. Perrin
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

James Perrin
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lelia Phelts
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Ella Poole
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Clarence Ray
Find A Grave

Willie Ray

Herman C. Richey
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Johnnie Rice
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Allen Rice
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Willie J. Rice
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Broadus Roberson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Carrie Robinson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Charlie Robinson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Gladys Robinson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Jim Robinson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lavania Robinson
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Willie See Sibert
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Bennie Sims
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Julia Sims
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Magnolia Sims
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Effie Smith
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

John Smith
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lettie Smth
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mazie Washington Smith
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Samuel Smith
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Violet Smith
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Charlie Snow
Death Certificate
Find a Grave

Hattie Snow
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Nina Snow
Death Certificate
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Rosa Snow
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Zoline Snow
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Terry
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Rebecca Thomas
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Joe Townsand
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Minnie Townsand
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mose Trotter
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Eliza Tucker
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Joel Wah
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Janie Arnold Wah
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

B? Wardlaw
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Martha Lee Wheeler
Death Certificate
Find a Grave

Janie Bell White
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

J. B. White
Death Certificate
Find a Grave

Johnie Lila White
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mary Eliza White
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Mose White
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Nettie White
Death Certificate
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Thomas White
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Eliza Wideman
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lula Wideman
Death Certificate
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Robert Wideman
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Annie James Williams
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Anna Laura Williams
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Caro Williams
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Lizzie Williams
Death Certificates
Find A Grave

Mahalia Johnson Williams
Find A Grave
Death Certificate

Rosa Atronn Williams
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

Will Williams
Death Certificate
Find A Grave

22 comments:

  1. Hi. Our rural cemetery was not quite that bad, but close. The city finally took over maintenance with a strong volunteer group to help maintain it. They have an adopt a grave program etc. Contact the city re: details how they accomplished it.
    http://ci.santa-rosa.ca.us/DEPARTMENTS/RECREATIONANDPARKS/PARKS/CITYPARKS/CEMETERY/Pages/default.aspx

    ReplyDelete
  2. What an overwhelming task! How wonderful for you to take it on! I feel confident that help from both sides of the veil will come.

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  3. What an overwhelming task to take on! I feel confident that you will receive help from both sides of the veil! How may I help you, Robin?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cheri. I feel confident that help will come. I am sure the people buried there want to be found. I think the best way to help is to contact the historical society above who will be coordinating this effort. I would imagine promoting the day of clean up, researching, and donations will be a great benefit. I know helping to find more death certificates would be an immense help too. :)

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  4. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have to do community service projects for badges and other awards. Try contacting the local councils for both organizations and maybe they could get a troop or two to help!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Cynthia! I have heard they have helped with projects like that before. I know one of the Greenwood County Library Volunteers have contacted them. We are awaiting a response.

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    2. Robin, this could be a great Eagle project for the Bpy Scouts.

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    3. I think so too, Jennifer. Hopefully we will hear back from them soon.

      Delete
  5. God Bless you for your efforts.This is an absolutely wonderful thing you are doing. Is there anything we can do that would help? Write letters, make phone calls, help research?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Valerie. I appreciate that. I hope my efforts will help get more people involved in the cleaning. I would welcome any help in finding death certificates and other resources to document the people buried there along with their stories which we can blog about so that their names become searchable online as well as the cemetery. I also think it would be great for people to write to the historical society mentioned above to ask them were resources can be best applied.

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    2. Robin, Great ideas. I will send a letter to the Historical Society this weekend.

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    3. Thank you so much, Valerie! I really appreciate that!!!!

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  6. Don't forget the young men's organization at church. They take on compassionate service projects and have access to the Boy Scouts in the area. Good luck with this task. If anyone can do it, you can.

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  7. This is a wonderful labor of love. I hope it inspires others to become a part of the effort to clean and preserve this cemetery.

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  8. Any chance this cemetery would merit a historical register designation, if it does not enjoy one already?

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    Replies
    1. I do not know the qualification that need to be met, but I am sure the Greenwood Historical Society would know. It is similar to Historic Randolph Cemetery in Columbia with military vets, and people buried there were born as early as the 1850's.

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  9. Robin, thank you for sharing this; it was very moving. Your passion really comes through.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for letting me know that, JG~LK.

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  10. My church (Greenwood FBC) will be hosting a clean-up day at this site on Saturday, May 2, from 8:45AM until 1PM. Everyone is welcome!

    ReplyDelete

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