Letter: Who can save this forgotten cemetery?
Why should I care? Those buried in the cemetery are not my relatives. They are not buried on my property. They are not even my race. Yet, it all has to do with what my family taught me when I was young.
During visits to my grandparent’s farm I learned to be respectful, careful, and thankful of things. So, I choose to respect those who have moved into another life and lay resting in a cemetery. I am concerned about their resting places being flooded at some point in the future. I know those buried there have been under water in years past. I would like to begin an effort to save the resting place of persons who have lived in the area of my home, worked the land making bricks, and yet today remain unnoticed.
The problem is that creek water laps the land where these people are buried. Another neighbor now passed cared about this cemetery. How do I know? I had conversations with this gentleman. He owned a business near my home and on many occasions was a good friend and neighbor. He often called VDOT to come and free up the beaver dams holding back the fresh water. The beaver dams would cause the water to back up toward the cemetery. This continued until my neighbor friend passed.
Tom Hearn had informed me about what he was doing so I would be O.K. about the people coming so frequently to tear down the beaver dams and let the water flow into the creek, the river, the Chesapeake Bay. Since learning about Mr. Hearn’s passing, I have taken up the cause. More than a year ago, I stopped by VDOT and asked them to come out and tear the beaver dams down again. VDOT informed me that the beavers were long gone; that I had to be mistaken about the "high water" levels.
Alas, two days later while raining I noticed VDOT working in the area. They had removed the beavers, but the grate that VDOT had put across the large culverts under Route 198 had been plugged up by debris. Once the culverts were cleared, the water drained rapidly.
That was the "fix" and I appreciated VDOT’s efforts. Sometime later I noticed water backing up again. This time some trees fell across the creek below the culverts and for some reason beyond my understanding everyone is afraid to remove the dead fallen trees. Thus the water rises again, the mosquitoes grow (unhealthy for humans), the ground becomes saturated, water moccasins and copperheads (poisonous) thrive, and the cemetery becomes more threatened with every passing rain.
Why are so many people afraid to remove dead fallen trees to allow for the natural way of things? That is the question. Who wants the graves to surface or collapse as I know some have already done? Who wants this forgotten cemetery to add to the distress of the Chesapeake Bay during some massive ‘rain’ event when the water will surpass the fallen trees? Who is responsible for disallowing "sanity" that would act in a responsible and respectful way in regards to this cemetery? Who can help? Can the Mathews Board of Supervisors help? Can VDOT help? Can the NAACP or President Obama help? Who can help save this forgotten black cemetery? Answers anyone?
Cobbs Creek, Va.