From the Richmond Planet, 3/21/1896, p. 2, c. 2


The attempt of the Barton Heights property owners to close the Ebenezer and Mechanics Cemeteries by the airing of alleged discoveries, relative to the interment of bodies therein is as reprehensible as it was unsuccessful.

It was a scheme to advance the value of property in that section by an interference with the sacred deed.

The charge that the odors from the cemetery cause a nuisance is untrue.

The inhabitants of Barton Heights are suffering, if at all, from the fumes of the crematory.

Its nauseating breath has been a source of annoyance to the residents of Richmond as much so as Barton Heights.

It sounds absurd for the prejudiced people to charge that more than one person is buried in one grave when it is a custom resorted to by all cemetery officials. How else could Shockoe Hill Cemetery have been a receptacle for the dead during a period extending over a century? How else could Hollywood Cemetery be used now with its thousands interred therein? How else could St. John’s Burying Ground have been continued as a Cemetery?

No, it was a case of vicious persecution. The calling of Deacon BENJAMIN HARRIS and his colleagues before the grand jury for the purpose of attempting to indict them was an outrage.

This was done, too, at the instance of people who profited by the desecration of the burial ground on Poor-house Hill, North 5th Street when graves were dug into, bones scattered, coffins exposed, and the hearts of the surviving families made to bleed by the desecration of the remains of their loved ones.

Let these people be content with their losses. Mr. BARTON is gone. Do not vent the spleen on helpless colored people who have to depend upon the Christian charity of the better class of white people.

The grand jury took no notice of the charges further than to refuse a true bill shows that there are right thinking white men who deprecate willful wrong-doing and will frown upon partisan action which would work ill to a God-fearing people.

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