Roughly 85 lost graves uncovered on abandoned church property in Thomasville
THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) - A local photographer is making progress on a passion project she started roughly seven months ago: uncovering the graves outside an abandoned church in Thomasville.
The church is Midway CME, which was believed to have been founded by slaves in the early 1800s.
“It still kind of looks messy out here,” says conservation project organizer Amanda Yates. “We’re still in the process of cleaning and restoring.”
Since early July 2021, Yates has had seven early weekend wake-up calls to transform the church property, all with the help of a small group of volunteers organized online.
“I felt like this tiny little speck of an ant looking at this huge mountain,” Yates said.
“Saw the posts on Facebook... I was like, well, maybe I’ll give it a try,” Matthew Brotzman, who owns a lawn care company, says.
Using an arsenal of tools Brotzman provided, the group uncovered about 85 marked graves on the property.
Yates says the feeling of standing there and looking at the graves is unbelievable.
Just when they thought they were close to the end, volunteers discovered the oldest headstones yet.
“They are from the 1800s to early 1900,” says volunteer Rodney Shuler. “These people have been lost from time and we found them. It’s a good feeling.”
It’s a labor of love from the community to those who are no longer around but still deserve to be remembered.
“This is a person. This is someone who lived and breathed in Thomasville, and it kind of gives them an attachment and a spot that they deserve in history and that to me is more than just uncovering a grave,” Yates says.
Yates has started uploading pictures of the headstones to FindAGrave.com with some research information about the people laid to rest there. She says one family of descendants in North Carolina has already reached out and plans to make a visit.
You can find a schedule of future clean-up events at the site on the Midway CME Cemetery Conservation Project Facebook page.
Copyright 2022 WCTV. All rights reserved.