Local News

Raleigh Family Told To Move Buried Relatives In Name of Progress

Posted March 6, 2000 6:00 a.m. EST

— One Raleigh family is getting a history lesson thanks to aDepartment of Transportationplan to move a long-forgotten graveyard that sits just off Capital Boulevard where the Outer Loop is headed.

Sonny Clifton's great grandfather, Fletcher Reid "Sonny" Clifton, a former mail carrier, is buried at the cemetery along with his wife, Helen. Family roots go back 150 years around Gresham Lake.

"As a small kid, I remember coming up to the top of the hill to a home with my grandfather," Clifton says. "But this is the first time I've been back up here since then, and it's just kind of overwhelming."

Moving the graveyard is a sore subject with the Clifton family. The DOT says it had no idea the graveyard even existed until a final site survey just a few weeks ago.

Sonny Clifton says he may move his family, or he may not.

"I think our preference would be for the site to stay here," Clifton says.

Cemetery researcher Irene Kittinger says this is a wake up call for everyone.

"We forget sometimes we are one of the 13 colonies, and we are not saving our history very well," Kittinger says.

The DOT hopes to start moving the graveyard by early next week.

The agency still has not found any relatives connected to another graveyard off Highway 401 that must be relocated.