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Grave could be moved to make way for new Walmart

Posted May 20, 2015

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— The owner of land that includes the burial site of a Civil War soldier wants to sell the property to make way for a Walmart Neighborhood Market.

The remains of John Pridgeon, who died in 1903, is one of three on the property.

"The way they buried people back then was with pine boxes that would deteriorate," said Gary Kepley, Pridgeon’s great-grandson. "I'm sure there is not a whole lot left in the ground and there is just no way of moving that in a respectful manner."

The owner, who name has not been revealed, said he wants to pay to have the graves moved to a cemetery.

Lonnie Player, the property owner’s lawyer, said the owner has met all state requirements for removing the graves.

"He does not want to be viewed as callous in any way, shape or form," Player said. "But the family has manifested absolutely no interest in the cemetary."

When Pridgeon's widow died in 1966, Player said the family found the burial grounds so overgrown that they buried her in a Hope Mills cemetery.

Kepley said that is where Pridgeon's remains would be interred, although he would like to see the current site cleaned up and fenced off.

A funeral home would remove the graves in a "dignified fashion," Player said

Cumberland County commissioners voted unanimously this week to delay a decision on moving the graves until June 1.


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  • Aanritsen Deur May 25, 2015
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    Good question since the Civil War was in the mid 1800s. Could he have possibly married a young woman when he was already a very old man?
    It happens.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 25, 2015
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    Many paper maps (if there are any anymore) show little red crosses where graves or a cemetery are. I use to travel to see them, places you'd drive right by and never know where there unless you were looking for them specifically.
    But there's no way a grave should be disturbed. Let the dead rest in peace. At such a time that the entire grave is beyond recognition as a gravesite, then maybe build upon it.
    I wouldn't, but I know Walmart would.

  • Aanritsen Deur May 25, 2015
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    For God's sakes, Leave them alone, let them rest in peace.
    We have plenty of Walmarts, the dead only have (or only should have) one grave.

  • Diane Thornton May 23, 2015
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    Graves in the south are everywhere as olden days sometimes people buried family on theit own property.

  • Forest Hazel May 21, 2015
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    Sadly, there are many gravesites destroyed every year for apartments, highways, stores, and the like. Many have been long abandoned, and are difficult for the casual observer to see, since often they contain only fieldstones marking the graves. I have seen several landowners who were not even aware that they had cemeteries on their property, and were not especially pleased to learn of it. This person at least appears to be trying to do the right thing in this instance.

  • Steve Morrison May 21, 2015
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    If John Pridgeon was a civil war soldier that died in 1903, how could his widow have lived until 1966?

  • Mike Jones May 21, 2015
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    Wrong and especially not for a "WAL-MART". Messing with a "burial spot" brings on bad mojo.