Brush is cleared from Ashburn cemetery - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Brush is cleared from Ashburn cemetery

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February 17, 2007

Ashburn -- An old Ashburn cemetery buried beneath bamboo trees and brush sees new light after being hidden for at least 30 years. Cleanup crews were out clearing away the plant overgrowth at Gabe's Tater Patch, a six acre graveyard that the city is unable to determine the owner of.

By law, city workers can't clean up the overgrown graveyard since it may be private property, but volunteers and church groups don't have the same restrictions.

Volunteers want to shed new life on the long-lost cemetery.

With a shovel in hand, and a flick of some dirt, Al Taylor has dug into a part of his family history he never knew.

"This is my great-great grandfather. And if I'm not mistaken his wife, and his son, and daughters," said Al Taylor.

At least ten graves belonging to his family and bearing his name were lost for many years at the Ashburn cemetery. But now he and many other community members want to make a change. Up to 30 volunteers from area churches helped uncover the hidden history of the city.

"To me it's fascinating, plus I think all of these good people that are buried here, they deserve to have a nice cemetery. I mean we owe it to them," said volunteer Chris Hughes.

It's due respect these volunteers are paying even if they don't know the people buried here. But for others, there is a connection.

"I've always known they were here. It's just I didn't know where they were in this particular cemetery because it's overgrown," said Taylor.

Al Taylor is thankful that he now knows just a little more about his roots.

"I'm sure somewhere up there if they're looking down, they're glad that someone is giving them the respect that they deserve," said Taylor.

Ashburn was established as a city in 1890. The city looked back at records dated in the early 1900s, and couldn't trace who owns the six acre site off Highway 112 in Ashburn.

With special permission from the state Department of Corrections, the city used prison inmates recently to begin the cleanup process.

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