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Man walking his dog stumbles upon forgotten Petersburg cemetery

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PETERSBURG, Va. (WTVR) -- Several weeks ago, Donny Hicks was walking his dog when he came across an abandoned cemetery in Petersburg.

Hicks contacted CBS 6 about the conditions and showed reporter Chelsea Rarrick the area on Friday. The wooded glen had high grass and numerous trees, one of which had fallen on top of a headstone.

"I didn't even realize these graves were over here.... I'm disgusted," said Hicks, who pointed out that many of the graves belong to veterans.


Hicks was floored by the conditions of the area.

"These are people's graves," said Hicks. "They shouldn't be neglected like this."

Hicks said he's made several calls around the area to find out who's responsible for maintaining it.

CBS 6 also questioned Travis Banks, an employee for Virginia Burial Supply. The company owns Wilkerson Memorial Cemetery and Eastview Cemetery that borders the abandoned area. However, Banks said Virginia Burial Supply doesn't own that particular land.

"We've tried to contact the city and they say they don't know whose it is," said Banks. "It belongs to somebody, but they can't figure it out [and] we can't figure it out."

Although Banks has been told it's not his businesses' responsibility, Banks said they are working to try and figure out a way to help.

"We want to go in there and clean it up the best we can," said Banks.


CBS 6 also reached Petersburg Spokeswoman Esther Hyatt, who said that the city only owns Blanford Cemetery and People's Memorial Cemetery.

CBS 6 asked about records to find out who is responsible for that particular property, but Hyatt said that city offices were already closed because of the Memorial Day holiday and that would not open until Tuesday morning.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for continuing coverage of this important local story.



  • Glen Allen

    It looks like some people visit those graves unless the flag and plastic flowers are really old. I would think the City Tax Assessors Office would have records of the land owner, probably even on-line with a plot map.

  • Not from Petersburg

    It probably belongs to the state or the federal government, who probably long ago lost the paperwork, and when no one complained, no one came to take care of the place.

  • me

    Petersburg’s Public Records must really be in a Mess.
    Abandoned real estate; homes, land, business, with no
    tax records, real estate records, titles, etc, and an “I Know Nothing!
    attitude and approach to government obligations..
    Tax payers always Left to rectify any and all government
    derelictions, deficiencies, dysfunctions, and neglect..

  • Ron Roller

    Efforts were made several years ago to restore the area. Personel from the jail farm cut down the trees and brush to reveal a very saddened story. Before much good be done to fix it up the women who started the restoration became ill and passed away. I do not know her name, but Richard Stewart the Honorary Mayor of Pocahantas Island could provide futher information. I took mumerous photos at the start of the cleanup and was amazed at what I found. The story with photos was posted on my website for 3or 4 years. When no one seemed interrested or cared I removed it.

  • Samantha Guess

    If anyone knows the specific location, please email or reply ASAP! My father and I are headed out there to find them and clean them up a bit. We are getting those trees off those graves TODAY!

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