African-American cemetery close to proposed building site of gas pipeline

West Virginia

There are 80 known people buried in the quiet Boyd-Carter Cemetery in Kearneysville. 

“Some of them worked at the orchard [or] at the quarry…they lived right here, went to the local churches.”

From what is known now, all of them were African-Americans, part of the Hartstown community. 

For years, it was taken care of by the families of the buried, who wish to remain private.

However, recently, people like Jennifer King and Addison Reese discovered the hidden history, thanks to their involvment in resisting projects like Rockwool and the gas pipeline. 

“Being involved in the Rockwool opposition, I saw the site plans and realized [the cemetery] was probably going to be in danger,” said Jennifer King, a lifelong  Kearneysville resident and caretaker of the cemetery. 

A recent development in the Rockwool case has created more concern for King, Reese and other caretakers of the cemetery. 

Friday, The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection (WVDEP) approved the permit for a sewer line that would benefit businesses in Jefferson County, including manufacturing company Rockwool. This information was shared with Delegates John Doyle and Sammi Brown, who confirmed the message. 

This came as a surprise to many who were hoping for a public hearing before a decision was made. But now that it has been, there is more fear felt by those who care for the cemetery and see how close the pipeline would be built to many of the graves. 

“Heavy traffic through this area could affect this cemetery. Even a big truck just turning around could knock into a headstone or go over a grave,” said Addison Reese, who also cares for the cemetery. 

“We have two construction projects happening. We have Rockwool and the gas pipeline and we just want to ensure that they do not encroach on the cemetery,” said King.

For more information on the Boyd-Carter cemetery, click here

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