Grant received to move cemetery

Published 11:53 am Saturday, March 3, 2012

COURTLAND—Southampton County has received a $50,000 grant to relocate a six-plot cemetery.

Discovered while developing the Turner Tract industrial park off Rose Valley Road near Franklin, officials found four adult handmade brick crypts with arched brick roofs and two smaller crypts containing the remains of children.

The 650-square-foot cemetery, which lies in the 493-acre county-owned industrial park, is believed to date back to the mid-18th to early 19th century. Wills and Simon Murfree at the time owned 345 acres. It’s believed the cemetery is associated with their family, however, no family members have been located, said County Administrator Mike Johnson.

The initial plan was to develop the industrial park around the cemetery. An access road was designed to pass close by, and the county considered fencing in the cemetery.

When the Virginia Economic Development Partnership and Virginia Department of Environmental Quality announced a grant opportunity to remove obstacles from economic development, the county applied.

The county received the grant, which will be used to move the cemetery to another area within the industrial park, Johnson said.

“We thought it would be better to just have a clean site without the cemetery,” he said.

A new location has not been chosen, but it may be best in a corner of the property, Johnson said.

The industrial park is empty, but Enviva Courtland Pellets plans to develop a $91 million wood pellet plant there.