Virginia cemetery dug up to make room for high school football field

Tuesday December 3rd, 2013

High school officials in the small town of Manassas, Virginia said they weren't made aware of the cemetery until last July even though they claim contractors had found the site in 2008. (The Washington Post/Getty Images) High school officials in Manassas, Virginia say they weren't aware of the cemetery until last July. (The Washington Post/Getty Images)

A Virginia cemetery dating to the mid-1800s is being dug up to make room for a high school sports complex, reports Michael E. Ruane of The Washington Post.

Officials with Prince William County High School in Manassas, Va., announced the plans in September, approximately two months after finding out about cemetery.

The district said it wasn't made aware that there were unmarked graves belonging to a local farmer and his family -- the Lynns -- dating back to the mid-1800s until five days after the dig began in November.

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Carolyn Lynn, a Manassas genealogist, said she believes she is related to the family buried at the cemetery and is frustrated that the school is relocating her ancestors:

"The football field! It’s not even the high school. . . . And that kind of adds insult to injury...It’s very upsetting. These were people who lived there, farmed there, had children...that expected to be there forever.”

A school official said in response that the plans for the football field and sports complex cannot be altered at this point.

“Had a redesign even been possible, it would have cost significant money and time that the school division does not have."
The school district has purchased plots at a cemetery northwest of Manassas for the recovered artifacts and will include soil from their now-former graves. The district will host a public meeting on Dec. 16 to get input on the reburial.

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