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Historic committee documenting graves
Panel building place/name databases
FEA historic committee grave art 2 0108
The Liberty County Cultural and Historic Resources Committee hopes to begin surveying and documenting cemeteries throughout the county this year. - photo by Photo by Jen Alexander McCall
Homes, places of worship, businesses and schools are the apple of many a preservationist’s eye. But when the people who built and occupied these structures are long gone, too often their final resting places are forgotten and left to weather in the elements. Liberty County’s volunteer historic committee is discussing plans to start documenting many gravesites in the area to bring them back into the collective memory of the community.
The Liberty County Cultural and Historic Resources Committee primarily serves to document sites, advise and give information to the Liberty County Planning Commission. The committee also is compiling surveys for the LCPC of historic sites to be reviewed during zoning requests and also for public access.
The cemetery surveys, once completed, would also be accessible to the public. “It would be most useful for people doing genealogy research,” committee member Randy Branch said. Comprehensive surveys have been done by local residents, and Branch said information would become part of the countywide database.
The committee has made progress in its mission to document historic places since it was formed nearly four years ago. Last fall, the group launched its Web site and provided links to many of its documented sites, including First African Baptist Church, Cedar Hill Plantation and Dorchester School.
“We hope by mid-year to have every property listed and coordinate with the state [historic register] site,” Branch said. “In the future, we’d like to have a system of every property with proper GPS coordinates.”
The historic committee will meet Monday morning in the courthouse annex to discuss budgeting for GPS survey equipment that will help in the gravesite documentation process. “We’re not talking about big funding, maybe $2,000 for the equipment,” he said. That money may come from the LCPC’s budget, he added, since the historic committee is through the planning commission.
Though the entire process will likely take several years, Branch said the committee hopes to get started sometime this year, eventually creating a database with features similar to one managed by Fort Stewart. Branch said cemeteries are often overlooked as sites with historic significance simply because no one is left to look after them. “A lot of them may not even have families left,” he said.

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