FRANKLIN COUNTY, N.C. — A large piece of history was buried and forgotten in the Franklin County town of Louisburg. The town recently discovered one of its oldest cemeteries had been neglected for many years. Now, some college students are helping keep history alive.
The cemetery is believed to be the final resting place of some prominent local residents, including African-American war veterans. The town decided to make its restoration a priority.
One of the town's first projects was to fence in the entire cemetery to ensure all other changes made stayed locked in place. North Carolina Central students, looking for a community service project, dug in. They are removing debris, planting flowers and replacing headstones.
"Every time we dig a little more, we find new headstones and stuff, so it's pretty interesting," student Dorian Cheek said.
Students said they are proud to be bringing the cemetery back to life.
"We're doing this because we want to pay homage to the people that were buried here," student Gail Barnes said.
"I hope that we can get the people to to pay more attention to their historical sites," Cheek said.
Once restoration is complete, town leaders will try to get the old burial site recognized as a state historic site.
Town officials said many of the remaining grave markers are just stones without a name. They are going through historic records to identify exactly who is buried there.