For the past 11 years, a nonprofit organization headed up by Rose Sturdivant Young has been working to restore the Old Westview Cemetery in Wadesboro to its former glory. Finally, after numerous fundraisers, work has begun to clear part of the 5-acre cemetery.
Friends of Old Westview Cemetery, Inc., has contracted with Nolan Scarborough of ASG Landscaping, LLC, of Wadesboro to begin the long process of restoring the cemetery, which has graves dating back to the early 1800s. Young’s vision began in January 2001, when she and her family returned to bury their mother, Ethel R. Sturdivant, in the family plot in the Old Westview Cemetery. Young discovered that the cemetery had become overgrown, and since then, she’s worked to get the site cleaned up.
“We’ve been working on this for about 11 years,” Young said. “It’s all been fundraising; we haven’t been able to find any grants.”
The work started about three weeks ago on the newer side of the cemetery, off Henry Street. There is another, older section of the cemetery, off Madison Street. “We’ve had a lot of limbs and brush cut down,” Young said. “It is already looking so much better, but there’s still a lot of work to do.”
Congressman Larry Kissell visited the cemetery on Saturday, May 5, and offered Young and other members of Friends of Old Westview Cemetery some advice on finding agencies and organizations that may offer grants for projects such as this one. “You may be able to get some assistance from the Veterans Administration,” he told Young
. “We do have some veterans buried here, and some slaves,” she said.
Young estimates that more than 2,000 people are buried in the cemetery, and many of them are probably unknown slaves.
Kissell told the group assembled Saturday that he meets with grant writers about once a year and could probably help the organization out.