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Owners of overgrown Thomasville cemetery want to make things right

(WCTV)
Published: Jun. 14, 2018 at 6:12 PM EDT
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By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 18, 2018

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- Last week, there was no trail to be seen through an overgrown historic cemetery. Now, there is, and owners of the Midway Church property say it's thanks to the relatives of loved ones buried there.

Over a decade ago, the cemetery was left with no one to maintain it. The owners of the property had accepted its fate until Kenneth Walker heard complaints about the cemetery. Now, he wants to make it right.

"We ought to look at it like, they have struggled and did something for us that we didn't do, so we should give them the honor," Kenneth said.

Thomasville Landmarks monitors historic preservation. They say there's no local ordinance for cemeteries.

State law says private land owners are only required to not disturb the graves. If a private cemetery is overgrown, or not cared for properly, Georgia's Department of Natural Resources encourages groups of people interested to plan or finance their own clean up projects.

The Walker family says they might not be required to clean it up, but they desperately want to. They say in the end, they'd like to restore the entire grounds, church included, as a historical landmark to the community.


By: Noelani Mathews | WCTV Eyewitness News

June 14, 2018

THOMASVILLE, Ga. (WCTV) -- Thomasville residents are devastated over a local historic cemetery.

Midway C.M.E. Church is closed and dates back to the 1800s. However, local families say it's no excuse for its current condition.

When local families come to visit their loved ones buried at Midway Cemetery, they're faced with overgrown weeds and fallen debris covering more than a hundred graves.

"I was showing my brother and was like, 'wow, where is it?'" said Juanita Farmer, a Thomasville resident.

She says her family was visiting from out of town and were shocked to find the cemetery unkempt.

"He even took a stick and tried to beat the snakes away or something," Farmer said.

The thick walls of brush have been keeping loved ones out, even Farmer's family trying to visit their dad's grave for Father's Day.

They say his special veteran headstone was nowhere to be found.

"We don't want to forget. Especially when hard days come by like Veterans Day, Memorial Day, and even his birthday," said Farmer.

The historic property has been in Tauquitta and Kenneth Walker's family for generations.

"It's been years and years and years that nobody has given us anything to try and help," said Tauquitta.

They say church members are now too sick or old to help them keep it up.

"Everybody used to come. Family used to come and have a good time. We want to see this come back again," Kenneth added.

The church family says they're planning to take action soon. They're hoping to plan a community clean up in the near future.

If you're interested in helping restore the grounds, contact Pastor Luther Woodruff with Many Mansions Church at (229) 421-5960.