Sunday, December 1, 2013

Current Affairs: Grave Matter: Kept in the Dark

Another local periodical has picked up the story about the Prince William County School’s (“PWCS”) hurried exhumation and removal of a 100+ year old grave yard from the future site of a new high school football stadium.  A link to the Gainesville/Prince William Times’ article “Kept in the Dark” can be found here.

In the article, Mrs. Betty Jean (Lowe) Eller, who sold the property in 2007, defends the PWCS and its actions.  She states, “If the Lynns did not try to keep up with their graves and people lay there rotted and they couldn’t find out [where it was before], I think they have a hell of a nerve [to come back now].”  An especially insensitive and ironic remark in light of the fact that Mrs. Eller’s grandmother was a Lynn.  Samuel R. Lowe, Jr. married Ida M. Lynn, the daughter of Leland A. Lynn and Catherine A. Selecman, on August 16, 1893.   Their son, Bradford Lowe, was Mrs. Eller's father.  (A 'hell of a nerve' indeed.)

The article also makes mention of the PWCS’s plans to reinter the remains at Stonewall Memory Gardens, on the far Western edge of the county, a “public chartered” cemetery that PWCS admits came in as the lowest bidder.  Stonewall Memory Gardens is nowhere near the Coles Magisterial District, where the original cemetery was located.  To paraphrase the article, why can’t PWCS move the remains to another location on the planned school site?  Ultimately, it really doesn’t matter if they are related to the Lynns, the Lowes, or any other family in Independent Hill.  The human beings disinterred from their “final” resting place have the right to be buried on the land where they lived, worked, and died. 

Surely the PWCS can find a way to set aside a small parcel of land near the original burial site to serve as a new cemetery, where these souls can be laid to rest on what was once their home.  It would the right, and decent, thing to do.

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