On Saturday morning, March 23, Wake Forest University students in Dr. Tom Frank’s history class were involved in a unique history lesson as they assisted the Happy Hill Cemetery Friends with their efforts.
Dr. Frank, a member of the board of Preserve Historic Forsyth, and his students (Abigail Brown, Laera Coats, Thomas Hale, Jessica Lockhart, Lindsey
Rogers, Peter John Timerez and Amelia Wohl) used probe rods to locate underground footings for tombstones that have been lost over the years. They worked in an area of 9,000-square-feet marked with string in 10-foot squares. In addition to the probe work, they also cataloged the text of the above ground tombstones found in each square. The notes and mapping will be compiled in a report documenting their underground discoveries.
The probing project was coordinated by local architect David Gall, who is also on the Preserve Historic Forsyth board and is a dedicated member of Happy Hill Cemetery Friends.
In another section of the cemetery, men from Rising Ebenezer Baptist Church, including William “Rock” Bitting, Charles Douthit, Elijah Jones, Ted Petree and Willie Williams, worked to cut a fallen tree and haul it away.
Happy Hill Cemetery Friends President Maurice Pitts Johnson and her team are continuing their efforts to improve the appearance of the historic cemetery. Currently the group is engaged in several pursuits:
• Locating the families of those interred in the cemetery
• Finding people who may have knowledge about the trustees or churches who owned the parcels that comprise the cemetery
• Encouraging more volunteer help from the community to join the Friends in their reclamation efforts.
It is an on-going project, and lots of help is needed.
The next work session will be on Saturday, April 6 from 9-11 a.m.
For information, call Maurice Johnson at 336-721-1081 or Jean Moses-Petree 336-721-1288.