Cemetery cleanup uncovers history in Buchanan

Published: Sep. 29, 2020 at 6:27 PM EDT
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BUCHANAN, Va. (WDBJ) - A cemetery covered by trees and grass is clear once again.

It’s all thanks to the workers at the Carmeuse rock quarry, in Botetourt County, who felt this piece of history should not stay hidden in the hills of Buchanan.

“You could barely see the sign, and if you didn’t actually know it was here you would have drove by,” Carmeuse Site Operations Manger Clay Coleman said.

Coleman only learned about the cemetery through a series written in the Fincastle Herald. It piqued his interest when he learned the gravestones were right across the way from where his offices were located.

Coleman decided his crews were going to take this on as a project and bring beauty back to the area.

“You know I’ve been here my whole life, so there’s a certain amount of pride involved,” Coleman said.

It took about six months of off-and-on work to tear up the brush, cut down trees and lay down a new path.

“The sign was rotted off, we fixed that, so then we graveled it, so it is like it is now,” Coleman said.

The cemetery is the oldest in Buchanan and holds some of the people that first planted roots there.

“The Bells, the Boyd Family, the Johnstons, the Martins, they were all the movers and shakers of the day and helped shaped the community still to what we see today,” Buchanan Community Development Planner Harry Gleason said.

The town said it tells Buchanan’s story and shows the pride people have in their hometown.

“What’s here is preserved. And going forward we will maintain it because we have not been able to track down an actual owner of it. So since we got it this far we will just keep on maintaining,” Coleman said.

That way mother nature does not hide this history again.

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