Why doesn’t the town care?

Published 9:14 pm Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Editor, Smithfield Times

I waited patiently for my turn to speak at the Smithfield Town Council meeting Nov. 3. I was excited because I had great news to tell everyone. I had discovered there were slave quarters and a cemetery on the Pierceville farm. These are facts for which the Department of Historic Resources in Richmond has documentation from the 1930s. This history needs to be explored before a developer is allowed to put a shovel (much less an excavator) into the ground.

I was quite disappointed when I was cut off a little more than three-fourths way through this fantastic news. I was told my time was up. Why wouldn’t the Town Council want to know about this finding? This part of Smithfield’s heritage could be lost, and digging up a cemetery is illegal. A survey from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources indicated that this cemetery may contain slave remains. Very few farms like this one have survived, and Pierceville farm is older than Mount Vernon. I can only ask again, why doesn’t our elected Town Council care? Or if they do, why aren’t they showing their concern?

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Betty Clark