The Wadesboro Town Council and the County Commission have issued resolutions of support for the Friends. The group's mission since its 2002 incorporation has been to maintain the burial place of an estimated 1,600 individuals reaching back over 150 years.
The cemetery is located between Madison Avenue and Henry Street, covering four and a half acres. The corporation, which has a 501(c)(13) status, has long-term goals of securing a historic designation for the site and the permanent, regular, care of the grounds.
"What can we do to help this group?" Commission Chairwoman Anna Baucom asked those present.
Baucom said she would ask the Tourism Development Authority for money to help clear the site or possibly provide perpetual maintenance.
The town is currently providing a truck to haul cleared brush away.
While the most recent push has lasted for weeks, it is unclear how much progress has been made.
The cemetery is 4.7 acres in size, said Wadesboro Mayor Bill Thacker.
Friends member Barbara Meyers said at one point in the meeting there were four more acres to clear, but later said one and a half acres had been cleared.
However, Meyers and County Manager Vance Gulledge agree there are some graves outside of the designated area. Trees obscure much of the site though the plots lie next to a residential neighborhood.
Meyers lamented the lack of volunteers.
"People don't show up," she said.
Wadesboro Councilman Lawrence Gatewood suggested a thank you card be sent to those who help clear the site. The card could include a note on the next time to come.
Meyers' complaint was part of a larger picture that emerged from the meeting. Each side had questions about what more could be done to recruit others.
Meyers expressed the difficulty she has encountered in finding volunteers to assist the group's efforts.
She also thought there was an unfortunate lack of support from the African-American community, considering the cemetery's history.
Before the Desegregation Act, which prohibited the separation of facilities based on racial and ethnic background, Old Westview was the only public burial ground for the African-American citizens of Wadesboro.
"Speaking to people in the black community, it's sad that we just don't care," Meyers said.
Regular volunteer Fred Lowery said in August many of the people who live near the cemetery have made suggestions to the volunteers and talked about what should be done, but none helped.
In a phone interview, the organization's founder, Rose Sturdivant Young, complained local leaders had been unhelpful until recently. "Nobody did absolutely nothing," she said.
She also asked why people in Wadesboro did not do more to help preserve the cemetery.
However, Thacker pointed out the group received a grant in October 2007 from the town, which is only partially spent. He added the grant was renewable.
When Baucom asked Meyers if the group was generating any income, Meyers said she did not know because she was not on the organization's board.
Town Manager John Witherspoon pointed out attorney Robert Little III had recently raised several thousand dollars for the group.
Young has held fundraisers in Washington, D.C., where she lives.
Thacker asked if there might be a better fundraising response in Wadesboro.
Young came to Wadesboro Saturday and met with Gatewood, along with Meyers, Friends board member Freddie Mae Bennett and Lowery at Little's office. She said she was told about Thacker's comment regarding fundraising.
"Why the hell doesn't somebody in Wadesboro do something?" she said.
"The corporation up here in Washington D.C. is doing things that have never been done and i'll continue to do it," she added.
She expressed appreciation for Little and said she had offered a position on the organization's board to Gatewood and he was interested.
Gatewood and Meyers talked about putting together a volunteer group of citizens on the weekend.
"I felt like in July with Anna was the first time I got recognition," Young said.
"Rose can do power organizing there and in Charlotte [the site of another fundraiser], but you need a local organization with local people," Gulledge said.
"I don't think she knows what's going on down here," Witherspoon said. Thacker agreed with him.
Baucom said Young had abilities that worked well in Washington, D.C., but agreed with Gulledge that local people were needed in Wadesboro.
Thacker gave more details about the plan presented by the organization when it was given the grant.
During the fall, the area would have been cleared. In the spring, the area would have been treated with herbicide. In the summer, the cemetery would be mapped and inventoried.
Baucom said the plan was a good one. She and Gatewood agreed the area needed to be cleared first.
She later said any organization should be held accountable for what it has done with its money. She said the money raised by Little would be enough to obtain a historical designation.
"I'm holding the money," Young said in the phone interview.
She said in her discussions with the archaeology department at Wake Forest University, she was advised to clear the area before obtaining the designation.
Young said she has kept in touch with Meyers on her efforts.
"The corporation has given her some funds to help along with the work," she said. In July she said she gave them "a couple hundred dollars."
However, she agreed Meyers and those working with her have also spent some of their own funds.
Young said she has been working on getting the site designated and explored bids to clear the area but thought the costs were prohibitive. She added grants have been difficult to obtain.
"I have brought a lot of attention to [the cemetery]," she said, adding, "It is going to be deemed historical. I've vowed to myself that that cemetery won't be left lying there."
Lowery said in August, after a month of volunteering, he felt the area was looking better than any time in recent memory.
"Now it's starting to look like it's part of the neighborhood," he said at the time. He has lived across from the cemetery for eight years.
Anyone interested in volunteering should call Barbara Meyers at 704-694-6631. Tax deductible donations may be made at BB&T in Wadesboro, where the group has an account under "Friends of the Old Westview Cemetery Corporation."
Contact Freddie Mae Bennett to add names to the list of those buried at the cemetery, 704-848-4598.