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Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Help to Save Fairview Cemetery

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Prior to Saturday, May 31st cleanup.  Photo taken by Jim Ravencraft.
The Fairview Project Committee and community volunteers came together for the initial cleanup of the cemetery located at 300 Holman Street in Greenwood, SC. on Saturday, May 31st at 8:00 am.  A total of 32 volunteers which included Greenwood County Library genealogy room volunteers, members of the Greenwood County Historical Society, Faith Home, Rev. Furman Miller, and members of Weston Chapel AME Church in Greenwood worked to almost 12 pm clearing trees, briars, trash, and other vegetation.
Working to uncover the Backus grave.  Photo taken by Robin Foster.
Fairview Cemetery is an historic African American cemetery with hundreds of documented burials since 1909.  Over the years, it has been overtaken by vegetation towering 10 to 15 feet high.  No one wanted to assume responsibility for this great undertaking, but I could not just let this remain the plight of the family members that I have discovered on death certificates as being interred there.  Some I have found headstones for.  The headstone of my great great grandmother (Jane McCoy) which did exist at one time has not been found yet.  Now that I have become so involved in this effort, I have gained a respect for the whole community buried there and will keep going to honor their memory as well.

As chairperson of the project appointed by Greenwood County Councilman Gonza Bryant, I was thrilled with everyone's effort.  They had a good portion of the cemetery cleared in 90 minutes. We would not have come as far in that amount of time if it had not been for Faith Home volunteers who brought their own equipment.  A member of Weston Chapel AME brought her daughter.
After initial cleanup.  Photo taken by Jim Ravencraft.
 My husband had not entered the cemetery previously for fear of snakes, but he worked with two other volunteers clearing trees.  We saw a fawn in the cemetery, and deer have also been sited which probably explains why we have not seen snakes.

We discovered a few new graves beneath the undergrowth, and they have been documented.  I was so disgusted to see all the debris over Rev. L. S. Burnett's grave (beers bottles, trash, a bra, medicine bottles).  That is one spot that I want to see cleared soon so that it can longer be used in that way.
Robin Foster, Saturday, May 31st.  Photo taken by Ellis McClure

We have a long way to go until this cemetery is brought up to standard.  To learn more about Fairview Cemetery, click here.  We are hoping to find people to donate labor and money that can be used to clean and maintain the cemetery.  Our next cleanup dates are:
  • June 10, 2014 at 8 am
  • June 28, 2014 at 8 am

If you would like to send a donation, please forward it to:

Greenwood Historical Society
P. O. Box. 49653
Greenwood, South Carolina 29649
C/O Carol Scales

Please specify that your donation is for Fairview Cemetery.

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