Tabitha Forgotten

August 28, 2006 at 11:01 pm (holy places, Virginia) (, , , , , )

Show me your cemeteries, and I will tell you what kind of people you have.” ~~Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)Broken Tombstone, Broken Heart

Broken Tombstone ~ BROKEN HEART
The graves of Tabitha and her family are not only forgotten; they are abused, vandalized and desecrated by those who now live in upscale suburban homes upon the very Virginia land that Tabitha and James Grimseley once cared for and farmed. It is a heartbreaking disgrace for neighbors of a cemetery to treat it with such disrespect.

Grimesley Family Cemetery, Chancellor Way, near the corner of Mulberry Bottom Lane, Saratoga, Virginia (Google Map) is an old family cemetery in southern Fairfax County, Virginia, located between two suburban homes. There are carved markers for James Grimesley, his wife Tabitha, Augustine W. Grimsley, and his wife Mary. There are other unreadable stones and field-stone markers, that with each passing season are blanketed higher and higher with grass clippings, garden debris and other refuse from the living neighbors of these dead Virginians. Rubbish is dumped upon the earthly remains of these immortal souls because the present caretakers of God’s land regard the former caretakers as naught but rubbish also. More at Saving Graves.

James and Tabitha were once vibrant living beings when they lived upon this land and their names are recorded for posterity on the 1880 Census of Fairfax County in the Lee District. (James GRIMSLEY – Farming)

Poster of Tabitha Forgotten

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The image, Broken Tombstone, was originally uploaded by barneykin. It is posted here from Neddy’s flickr.

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8 Comments

  1. Amanda said,

    I would just like to say, I live right next to the graveyard and I totally agree. Every fall, that seems to be the dumping ground for people’s leaves and the broken beer bottles tell their own story. I spent my whole childhood around the Grimsley’s and our family talks about how they are the perfect neighbors. The problem is that the graveyard is no-man’s land. It isn’t park land and it isn’t owned by anyone. That’s why people dump crap into the graveyard. There isn’t anyone to clean up. I thank you sincerely for taking interest in the graveyard but it’s the work of about 3 people that managed to make the graveyard look like a dump.

  2. Neddy said,

    Thank you for your comment Amanda. I have been told that Scout groups have cleaned this cemetery once or twice, however the dumping continued even after their efforts. This was written in 2003 at Saving Graves:

    This cemetery has been constantly vandalized, it is even unknown where the graves are at this point. Many of the headstones have been smashed. There is no gate, half the people living in the community are unaware of its presence. Since the early 1980’s or perhaps earlier this graveyard has been an absolutely heartbreaking sight. There is no gate to keep folks out and no history posted about the family. I hope someone can do something about this.

    I do not understand why your neighborhood considers this cemetery a “no man’s land”, unowned by anyone. The land must be owned by someone and whoever it is should take some steps to preserve the sanctity of the grounds. However, even if the owner of the cemetery does nothing, that be not license for neighbors to desecrate the graves. What kind of message is being delivered to the young children of the families who live in your neighborhood when they grow up observing such disrespect committed upon the dead? It makes one wonder about the values of families who spend such large amounts of money for a home in which to raise their children, yet allow their children to observe such behavior going on unchecked. The elements of time and weather and neglect take tolls on old burying grounds all over Virginia, however, there is much more happening at the Grimsley Cemetery in Saratoga, Virginia that cannot be blamed upon nature or the owner of the land. There are property and cemetery laws being violated and enforcement of them should be initiated.

  3. Jackie said,

    I just stumbled onto your site, and believe me, the cemetery site looks more like a dump instead of a cemetery. Just driving by it, one is certainly unaware that it is a cemetery but anyone can see from the dumped yard waste that it’s a blight on the community.

    Why anyone would choose to “dump” their yard waste instead of recycling it is beyond me. It is absolutely horrendous to acknowledge or believe that someone living in this neighborhood has so little concern for their neighbors. Yet, it appears that is the case. Would they treat the gravesites of their deceased family members in that way? It is scary to think of what the answer might be!

    Perhaps if Amanda knows who it is that is doing the dumping she could report them to the zoning board, for a cemetery site is definitely not zoned for dumping!

    The neighborhood does not have a community association. I’m thinking that if there are those who know who it is that is doing the dumping they may be fearful of reprisals. Just think, if the people who are doing the dumping don’t realize or care about their own neighborhood or respect those buried in the cemetery site, what’s to say they would pay any attention to being reprimanded for their “dumping” and creating an eyesore in their own community! Something stronger seems to be needed for they don’t have the common sense to know better!

    NEDDY:
    RE: Your comment, “THERE ARE PROPERTY AND CEMETERY LAWS BEING VIOLATED AND ENFORCEMENT OF THEM SHOULD BE INITIATED.”
    Do you know where these should be reported? You can contact me at my email address .

  4. Neddy said,

    I am not certain that I wrote the following: “THERE ARE PROPERTY AND CEMETERY LAWS BEING VIOLATED AND ENFORCEMENT OF THEM SHOULD BE INITIATED.”

    I cannot find any record of my having written those words. Perhaps someone did. This probably has to be corrected by the community association, but I am not sure.

  5. Jackie said,

    Neddy, check out the last line in your Sept. 5 Item
    #2 posting where you will find the comments

    I have cut and pasted part of it for you:
    “The elements of time and weather and neglect take tolls on old burying grounds all over Virginia, however, there is much more happening at the Grimsley Cemetery in Saratoga, Virginia that cannot be blamed upon nature or the owner of the land. There are property and cemetery laws being violated and enforcement of them should be initiated.”
    There is no community association.

  6. Neddy said,

    Yes, you are right Jackie – I did write those words. I am glad that you led me back to them. I think what I meant was that the property belongs to someone, even if it is the community association. As such it is private property and whoever is the owner could make some effort to stop the vandalism.

    I think one can access property records online now, so it should not be too difficult to find exactly who the owner is.

    If the owner of the property cannot stop the abuse, then I do believe that there are laws that govern the treatment of burying grounds. I think they are state laws. Although cemeteries are abandoned all over Virginia, to have an abandoned one deliberately vandalized should be against the law, if it is not already.

    I wish that the Grimsley family had some descendants somewhere who would take the initiative. Sometimes I feel that genealogists of today are really only interested in gathering names and dates of their ancestors and uploading them to the Internet, instead of thinking of them as former living and breathing individuals

  7. Jackie said,

    I have gone on ancestry.com and located some family trees where I think I think there are Grimsely descendants of those buried in the cemetery. I’ve sent them emails regarding your site and the Grimesley Family Cemetery.

    It is a shame to think that there are those who are so disrespectful as to desecrate gravesites! I am hoping that some of the Grimesley descendants will respond to my emails.

  8. Jackie said,

    This is the site where one can email or call Fairfax County to report a blight in the county. I have done so today for the Grimesley Family Cemetery.

    Fairfax County Blight Abatement Program
    703-246-5179
    http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/rha/blight.htm

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