Historic unmarked graves discovered in Cairo - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Historic unmarked graves discovered in Cairo

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CAIRO, GA (WALB) -

A south Georgia man's legacy will live on through an old cemetery.

150 years is a long time, but one church committee says it's not long enough to be forgotten.

The cemetery at Long Branch Baptist Church in Cairo is filled with unmarked graves.

One church member wanted to honor the people buried there by making sure all the graves were discovered and marked.

After his death, a family member helped make sure that happened.

Long Branch Baptist Church Cemetery Committee member Annie Tyus Parks says she just wanted to honor her late brother's memory.

"It's a very humbling effect to me because this was his dream. And I think his legacy will be appreciated with the younger generation."

Parks' brother Lewis Tyus passed away from cancer in October, but one of his final wishes was to locate any unmarked graves in the Long Branch Cemetery.

"I knew the love for what he was doing and then of course he had said many times and we talked about our legacy, our heritage goes down stream. And we are what we are simply because of those that have lived before us," said Parks.

"We've discovered 104 unmarked graves and that's what the little red flags represent," said Cemetery Committee Chair Ellen Ferrell.

Parks says her brother not only wanted to preserve the history of the graves, but also respect those who rest in them.

"We want to make sure we don't designate other grave sites to people if someone is already buried there," said Ferrell.

Director of Deacons Larry Hudson says it is unlikely the identities of those buries in the unmarked graved will ever be known.

"We do not know the identity of the graves, but if somebody happened to remember where there ancestors were buried, it might bring back memories and they may be able to locate and determine that maybe that is their ancestors grave."

Parks says one of the biggest hurdles was finding the money to pay for the mapping.

"Funds were limited, but through the gifts, and the love and the prayers, we have seen this fulfilled."

A digital cemetery roster is also being created to provide burial information from existing markers and a list of the dead in alphabetical order.

The cemetery currently contains known graves of 24 Civil War veterans, 13 World War One veterans, eight World War Two veterans, and nine Korean veterans.

 

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