Historic pavers tell stories of Lexington's Righteous and Rascals

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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ7) It’s quiet, precise work. Cutting each letter out just right, making sure each letter is clean, perfect. Shawn Hamric’s work is literally carved in stone.

“It can be complicated at times, but it’s also interesting. You learn a lot about the people," Hamric of Hamric Memorials said.

Normally, he works on memorials – grave stones – but lately he’s also been working on a different sort of memorial. The Righteous and Rascals of Rockbridge project has been putting pavers with short accounts of local figures – some historical in the traditional sense, like Jefferson and Robert E. Lee, and some more obscure or underrepresented.

“Mary McDowell Greenlee, right here, one of the first female settlers. Successful businesswoman – so successful that she got accusations of witchcraft against her," Eric Wilson, Director of the Rockbridge Historical Society said.

Or the stone Hamric is working on today.

“Edward Tarr, first black landowner west of the Blue ridge, founder of Timber Ridge Church," Wilson said.

“More than just cutting stone. That’s probably the most rewarding thing is to be able to honor somebody after they’re passed. And even in this project. You’re still honoring people after they’re gone," Hamric said.

“The stones have weight. They do have a certain gravity. They look like tombstones, and they feel like they’re memorials, and they ask you to pause and think," Wilson said.

But they also have some entertainment value.

“And I think there’s a lot more room in history and in education to make space for that," Hamric said.

But for Shawn Hamric, it’s about doing the job right.

“I do have a legacy in Lexington," Hamric said.