Volunteers, association working to clean up historic Hartsville cemetery

The Hartsville Colored Cemetery Association is working to make sure no grave goes unmarked.

A Hartsville Cemetery is seeing new light.

The Hartsville Colored Cemetery Association is working to make sure no grave goes unmarked.

Willie Williams' mom is buried in the Historic Marion Avenue Cemetery, but 'where?' is the question Williams has.

"[she's] buried here in an unmarked grave," Williams said.

His mom is one of hundreds of unmarked graves of African Americans in the cemetery.

"Veterans, people born in slavery. So this is a very historic place...prominent people out here. We got people here from 1904. As far as we know the oldest grave was 1904," Williams said.

Volunteers from around Hartsville have been cleaning up the over grown limbs and weeds for years.

"To see the progress that they have made thus far, it warms my heart," Williams said.

The association is revamping the efforts.

"This cemetery represents the movers and shakers and the ordinary people that lived in the Hartsville community in the early 1900's all the way to the 1950's or so," Johnny Andrews, Hartsville Mayor Pro-tem, said.

After a recent survey they discovered more gravestones and placed 375 flags at each marked and unmarked grave.

"We actually uncovered 16 stones that were previously unknown. Some of them were under the earth and several of those stones were veterans," Andrews said.

Now, they’re working to get a federal grant for about $150,000.

"Repair the broken stones, we’d like to fence it in. We’d like to have security lighting. Things like that that" Andrews said.

Williams said he has high hopes for the the cemetery’s future.

"Beautiful, sanctuary type, tombstones standing," Williams said.

The committee is planning another clean up day for March, ABC 15 will update you when the exact date is announced.

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