Thursday, February 13, 2014

Drive through the hog farm to get to the old African American cemetery

I was told seven years ago, last month, to do the following:

         "Drive off the main road; drive through the open field; drive  

          through the crop field; then, avoiding getting stuck on the
          muddy dirt path, drive in between the hog farm; avoiding the
          ruts in the road.  You will then come to a small cemetery on
          the left."

A) View of Brick Mill Cemetery January 2007

B) Looking from center of cemetery to tree line

C)  View of from far side of cemetery
During January and February of 2014, southeastern North Carolina had received not-less-then three harsh rainstorms along with some unseasonal heavy snow falls.  These weather conditions caused the dirt road to the cemetery to be extremely muddy and nearly impassable.  Sometime during the month of January, in between the bad weather conditions and while the dirt road was muddy, a burial took place within the Brick Mill Cemetery; which has been used continuously since ca.1900. 
As the cemetery's caretaker, I was not informed of the burial in January.  Contacting me is not required but, it would have been a courteous gesture of my work at this and other cemeteries. 
For instance, since over 40% of graves within this cemetery are unmarked, I could have assisted in "suggesting" where to place the newest grave.  During previous recent burials we were able to place family members with their Ancestors with little disturbance to the older graves. 

Another area where I could have been of assistance was to inform the grave diggers as to where to place any leftover dirt from the grave hole.  As the images below indicate, excess dirt was placed precariously next to an older grave.  In time, due to future weather conditions, this extra dirt, if not removed, will easily cover the older grave marker. 

In time, this excess dirt could cover this headstone

Newly placed grave with no markers.  I place an American flag near the front of the grave.  Animals have been known to carry flowers away from gravesites, leaving only a flat area with no indication of being a gravesite.

Also, notice how the newest grave is not properly marked; not even with a traditional "temporary" grave marker.  In time, hopefully, a headstone will be placed on this grave.   If not, however, it too will become one of the 40% of unmarked graves within the Brick Mill Cemetery.

I will close this post by showing the entrance to the historic Brick Mill Cemetery as it appears during the first week of February 2014.  Please note that since these images another heavier snow storm left the path with over seven inches of wet snow.  In time, this snow, as it melts, will cause the ground to be even softer and less passable.

Path in between the two major hog pens

Only route to the Brick Mill Cemetery.

Heavy duty truck that brought casket to newest grave site cause tremendous damage to the dirt path to the cemetery.  In the distance you can see the path continuing through the two primary hog pens.