Homecoming at China Grove / Concord Cemetery set for SundayPublished 10:24pm Tuesday, August 12, 2014
This year’s “homecoming” celebration at the China Grove/Concord Cemetery is an especially important one, said Marsha Boutwell, a member of the cemetery committee.
The China Grove/Concord Cemetery was established prior to 1830, making it one of the oldest cemeteries in the county. The third Sunday in August has been set to bring together those who have family members buried in the historic cemetery.
“Those of us who have family members buried at the China Grove/Concord Cemetery have the responsibility of growing the cemetery’s perpetual care fund,” she said. “This cemetery is a beautiful place and we want it to remain that way for generations to come.”
Boutwell said last year’s homecoming attracted a small crowd and donations to the perpetual care fund were down.
“We’re going to have to grow this fund to be able to maintain the cemetery the way it should be maintained,” she said. “The cemetery has been grassed and we really need a caretaker in order to maintain it. Many of the graves need seeing about as well as the fences. There’s just a lot of work that not only needs to be done but has to be done.”
Boutwell said hopes are to have a large gathering at Homecoming Sunday. The homecoming celebration will be at Concord Primitive Baptist Church just across the road from the cemetery.
Everyone begins to gather around 11 a.m. at the church, with dinner on the grounds at noon. Everyone is asked to bring a lawn chair and a favorite dish to share.
“We always have a good time and a productive informal meeting,” Boutwell said. “Of course, we have dinner on the grounds and we visit the cemetery. We all enjoy getting together and honoring our ancestors.”
Boutwell said China Grove is steeped in history.
“China Grove was the Seat of Justice when Pike County was formed in 1821,” she said. “People from many different walks of life are buried at the China Grove/Concord Cemetery. The oldest marked grave dates back to 1851. Or course, there are a lot of unmarked graves in the cemetery and some graves are probably outside the fence. How many there are and how old they are, we just don’t know.”
Boutwell said the historic cemetery has deep meaning for her and many others as well.
“As I drive down this old sandy road that my ancestors trod, I go to the place where their remains are laid and I draw strength from knowing where my ancestor are buried,” she said. “Everyone needs that kind of comfort and we can give it to many through the upkeep of this beautiful and historic cemetery.”
Homecoming at the China Grove/Concord Cemetery Sunday is open to everyone who has an interest in the cemetery.
Donations to the cemetery fund may be made to the China Grove/Concord Cemetery Fund, 62 County Road 2302, Troy, Alabama, 36079.