Protecting and Preserving Locust Grove Cemetery

Stephens City group rallies to save historic cemetery

STEPHENS CITY, Va - A Stephens City group held a program Saturday to educate the public about a cemetery they hold near and dear to their hearts. 

The Locust Grove Cemetery Inc. Was formed 25 years ago to protect, preserve, and maintain Locust Grove Cemetery.

"I've lost so much and i don't want to lose anything more" Denise Medley of Winchester says.

The cemetery has been neglected in the past, the organizations directors fear if it goes un kept, it will be forgotten about or built over.  The organizations members are so passionate about the cemetery because many of their ancestors are buried at the site.  

"I want us to remember that, I want our children to remember, and not say well nothing good came out of Stephens City, nothings going on in Stephens city. Yes, my family's here and we are important, we are a great people , and I want it to be remembered." Medley says. 

On April 8, 1880 the town of Stephens City, deeded the .5 acres of the town common to be a designated 'colored cemetery', which was later named locust grove. The organizations treasurer Garland Williams says knowing the past gives the younger generations even more reason to connect now.

"Children that grow up in this area and they don't realize that at one time people were buried in certain places just because of color." says Williams. 

The organization strives to establish the importance of maintaining locust grove as a memorial to the African-American families that lived, worked, and died in the community of Stephens City.

"My family's here, grandmother, the lady that is on the brochure, great-great-grandmother she was a mid wife in the valley, and she was one of the top midwives in this valley, so just learning about that history, is very intriguing to me." Williams says. 

Saturdays program gave the organization the chance to identify and share the needs of the cemetery and get  help from community members and local officials. 

"After todays ceremony, i think the future is very bright,"Williams says. 

The organization hopes to identify and trace the history's of those buried there and to give permanent markers for unmarked graves.If you would like more information on how to help preserve locust grove cemetery email locustgrovecemetery426@gmail.com


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