Danville, VA - A nearly forgotten graveyard in Danville is going to get restored. Prospect Missionary Baptist Church moved locations in 1952. But the church didn't move its adjoining cemetery to the new location. All of those graves have been unattended for more than 50 years.
The group restoring the graves doesn't know how long it will take or how much it will cost. But they do know how important it is to bring back the integrity to those buried there.
It takes a long hike through the woods to get close enough to a cemetery that you otherwise wouldn't even realize exists. That's because in more than 50 years, the path has been lost and most people have forgotten about this property, and its more than 150 graves.
"Unless you are affiliated with the church, you don't know they are there," said Sherman Warner, Chairman of Deacon Board.
But Warner joins a group of 25 Prospect Missionary Baptist Church members on a mission to change its fate.
"We plan to go down and clean up the cemetery, refurbish it," said Warner.
The graveyard turned junkyard has tombstones dating back 100 years.
"The headstones been vandalized, trash dumped on it," said Warner.
Warner realizes how big of a task they're taking on. In fact, fallen trees stopped us from even making it to the graves, we only could obtain pictures of what's left. But as a member of the church for more than 4 decades, Warner feels obligated to maintain this piece of history.
"We still respect those graves as a part of the church because they were the founding members of Prospect Baptist Church," said Warner.
Warner hopes to identify as many graves as possible and bring back the dignity these lost lives deserve.
"We just want to clean it up for respect of the families," said Warner.
Warner tells us some family members moved the graves in the 1950's when the church was moved. But he says that's the only time they have been touched. Warner plans to start their project this summer.