Walter Young can't find his great-grandmother's grave. The coal company that had it moved doesn't know where the remains ended up. "It always looked like a safe, good place nobody would bother," the 63-year-old retiree said of the cemetery along Pigeon Creek where his relative, Martha Curry, was buried. "It was up on a hill."
But that hill was in West Virginia's southern coalfields, and over the years, it changed hands. The land around and under the cemetery passed from one coal company to another as mines grew up around it. Now, no one is sure where Young's great-grandmother was ultimately laid to rest.
The loss is a problem that resonates across West Virginia as small family cemeteries and unmarked graves get in the way of mining, timbering and development interests. Advocates are asking state lawmakers this year to enact regulations that would require better tracking of the graves and protect families who believed that their loved ones wouldn't be disturbed.
You can read more about this, and the steps being taken to stop the desecration of graves, in an Associated Press article by Brian Farkas at http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5g0eTRLqVGyaOcigLssVdyuYFVVgQD96QNT381.
My thanks to Sharon Self for telling me about this story.