Henrico County forgotten graves, redux

Back in April 2017, I relayed some information I got from John Shuck regarding 69 graves that were recently discovered by a developer near Willow Lawn (Bremo Road and Mann Avenue) in Henrico County, all apparently dating prior to 1880. An archaeologist’s report documents the findings, though there are no surviving aboveground markers, nor much oral or documentary history about those who might be interred there. Now, the developer is petitioning the Henrico County Circuit Court for permission to remove all the burials.

Pam Greene, who works with the Henrico County Historical Society, is rightfully concerned about this plan. In other similar scenarios, after courts have granted such permission, landowners have had a relatively free hand to decide how many graves to remove and where to put them. There does not seem to be a good mechanism to ensure that all the graves are removed and relocated to a place acceptable to descendants.

It is likely that these graves represent African Americans who labored on plantations in the area, and possibly white landowners as well. To help sway the court to treat these remains with historical and human sensitivity, please contact Pam through the Henrico County Historical Society.

2 responses to “Henrico County forgotten graves, redux”

  1. […] light of the recent threats to small historic burying grounds in Henrico County (see Henrico County forgotten graves, redux and Unknown African American burials behind Freeman High School), I reached out to a local real […]

  2. Pam Greene Avatar
    Pam Greene

    Just revisiting your fabulous site and noted that there did not seem to have been many comments on this after almost 3 years. To the best of my knowledge, no comments were received by myself or the Henrico County Historical Society.
    Not many people may be aware that when a Henrico Co. court hearing was held on this Mann Ave. burial site, the Court appointed ad litem attorney for the “persons unknown” appeared to have only the skimpy information made available by the applicant. Only two people appeared in Court to advocate for the “unknown parties” that might buried on the site. Loosely translated, the final judgement said that, if the property owner did decided to remove any burials that might be on the site, it was to be done under accepted archaeological standards . Also the results of any exhumation and/or reburial were to be documented and deposited with the VA Department of Historical Resources, also with the relative Henrico Co. officials and the local Historical Society. Past decisions re: removal of burials traditionally have not required that documentation be made, or retained, or deposited with any official, other than a statement to the Court from the “supervising” funeral home representative.

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