To the Editor,
For some time now I have been noticing the natural gas line that has been zigzagging across Robeson County. Recently I found that cemeteries are being threatened, and in some cases, destroyed by the construction of this pipeline. As a historian, I take issue with the fact that cemeteries have been destroyed, and others are about to be destroyed, and the cemetery laws of North Carolina being broken.
I was recently driving along U.S. 301 near Lakewood Estates when I saw the construction in that community. I looked down the path of the cleared and bulldozed right away and to my surprise, I saw where an old cemetery had apparently been destroyed by the construction of the pipeline. In 1982 an elderly Indian lady had told me about the Old Godwin Cemetery being there. I walked through this cemetery, and found several tombstones of the Godwin family. After the recent discovery, I asked several what had happened to the cemetery, and no one knew anything. If the graves were removed then where were they moved to; also, if they were not moved, then what is going to be done about the destruction of this cemetery?
About three miles east of this site, there is another cemetery in harm’s way. It appears as though the pipeline will brush the north end of that cemetery where the undergrowth is located. This is the Old Powers family cemetery on Barker-Ten Mile road, just north of the Forest Acres. There are three generations of my ancestors buried there.
I don’t know exactly what is to be done in or near the Powers Cemetery, but I would like to inform the responsible parties that the cemetery is larger than just where the tombstones are located. What is to be done here?
The Powers Cemetery in the Barker-Ten Mile Community, and what was once the Godwin cemetery in the Saddletree Community, are both covered under the North Carolina general statues which protects cemeteries in this state. I would now like to know what will now be done to and for these, and other family cemeteries?