Germantown residents stand up for historical burial site

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The oldest family of European descent lies in a field in Germantown, including a Revolutionary War hero.
 
But beneath weeds taller than any human, it’s hard to tell.
 
Now more than ever, the site’s future is at risk.
 
The Germantown Historical Society discovered the burial site back in 1994.
 
Ever since, Susan Soderberg has been spearheading efforts to protect the cemetery, efforts that led to the erection of a fence, a maintenance project by local Eagle Scouts and almost special signage.
 
“It’s important to our community, and it’s important to keep it on the farm that Zachariah Waters owned,” said Susan Soderberg, President, Germantown Historical Society. “That is all a part of our history [and] a part of Germantown’s history.”
 
But Soderberg said the progress in honoring Zachariah Waters’ family came to halt when the property came under the ownership of Symmetry at Cloverleaf LLC.
 
The previous developer allowed the Germantown Historical Society to come by at their leisure to clean up the site. 
 
Now, Symmetry at Cloverleaf LLC requires specific dates to be approved before anyone steps onto the property.
 
“And that’s (clean-up) rather difficult because [the CEO] is hard to reach, and secondly, you might get a day like today where it’s raining so you have to postpone and do another information slip and ask for another day,” said Soderberg.
 
At this point in time, Soderberg said the developers are planning to move the burial site for the construction of office buildings.
 
CEO Nicole Totah would not comment on the story because of the “very early stages of planning.”
 
“It’s so sad,” said Soderberg. “I’m just devastated, because there aren’t many graves of Revolutionary War heroes.”
 
The county is aware of the burial site’s existence; it is listed on Montgomery County’s Historic Preservation Cemetery Inventory.
 
The Planning Department says Symmetry at Cloverleaf LLC has not submitted any formal plans yet; a spokesperson told WDVM that the department will guide the developer in identifying whether there are human remains on the property further into the planning process.
 
An excavation has never been performed at the burial site.
 
If human remains are located, the State’s Attorney’s Office will get involved, according to the Planning Department.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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