Bryan County NAACP discovers another historic Black cemetery in Richmond Hill

Bryan County NAACP discovers another historic Black cemetery in Richmond Hill

RICHMOND HILL, Ga. (WTOC) - Another Black cemetery in Richmond Hill caught the attention of the Bryan County NAACP.

Following a WTOC story about the Strathy Hall cemetery, viewers reached out to the NAACP to let them know about another one that’s been forgotten.

This time, it's the Patterson cemetery located near the sight of the new Memorial freestanding emergency room that will be built in south Bryan County.

Patterson Cemetery owner Theresa Pointsett and Bryan County NAACP President Johnnie Quiller are determined to figure out who is buried in another Black cemetery tucked away in Richmond Hill.

“It’s just that its history and it’s our history. We’re just proud of what we owned back in the day,” Poinsett said.

Poinsett and her family took ownership of the cemetery in 2012, but when her husband passed away two years ago it was left to her to keep it up.

“We want to get out here and get it cleaned up and have it more preserved and more of a viewing for people to come out and see this little wonderful graveyard back here,” Poinsett said.

Similar to the Strathy Hall cemetery, many of the headstones are broken or out of place, some of the people buried here date as far back as the 1800′s. The outlines of the graves are still visible, but they have marked most of them.

"They have sunk over time and back then they were writing the names themselves on the graves."

1953 is when the last person was buried here and behind the trees, sticks and shrubs it's another piece of lost black history in the town.

Poinsett's concern now is the new emergency room Memorial health is building just feet away.

"This is an old cemetery, it's historical and we just don't want it to be disturbed in any way, but nothing against Memorial center, we're all for the center being built because it will be a good thing for the community."

WTOC reached out to Memorial Health and they released a statement that reads in part, “Memorial Health understands the importance of the family cemetery located near our property in Richmond Hill. Our construction team is very well aware of it and their plan very much takes it into account. We will be a good neighbor to the community and will ensure that extra precautions are taken to preserve and respect the cemetery site during construction of our freestanding ER.”

The cemetery is less than a half-acre. They are also looking for volunteers to help them restore it and you can visit the Bryan County NAACP’s Facebook page to volunteer.

Copyright 2020 WTOC. All rights reserved.