|Gravely Nature Preserve|
Ridgeway (Henry County)
|Cemetery notes and/or description:|
Near Route # 642 and Route # 640 Old Marrowbone Road.
Near Burgess Creek and near the Smith River.
(used to be called Bouldin Creek)
Land was owned by the Hardy family in 2000.
Cemetery is in Ridgeway on the Gravely Nature Preserve on
Eggleston Falls Road.
It adjoins the Covington Cemetery.
(info below from Mary Lund)
The Martinsville Bulletin 25 May 2008:
The preserve, which opened in April, encompasses 75 acres bordering the Smith River off Eggleston Falls Road in Ridgeway. The site was once home to the Burgess plantation in the 1800s, and the 1.5-mile interpretive loop trail passes by the family cemetery.
"It's so amazing to learn all of this history," said Jennifer Doss, rivers and trails project manager for the Dan River Basin Association (DRBA), as she explained features of the trail during the hike.
Doss said she took an interest in the cemetery when she started working for DRBA in January, "but all I knew about the graves were the names on the headstones," she said.
The dominant headstone in the cemetery belongs to John Henry Burgess, who lived from 1831-1914. He had three wives and at least 17 children.
More than 25 graves have been found, mostly from the Burgess and Covington families, Doss said. Nine of them were young children. The oldest dates from 1882, and the most recent from 1941.
However, until a few months ago, "Mother Nature was taking over this land," Doss said.
The association held several volunteer workdays to clear away logs and brush, uncovering a previously unknown grave in March - the headstone of Susannah Ziegler, the first of John Henry Burgess's three wives, and two of their children.
Doss pointed out the periwinkle plants dotting the graves.
"Periwinkle was planted because of its odor and taste, to deter dogs and animals from digging up the graves," she said.
Doss was not sure of the connection between the Burgesses and Covingtons buried there until she contacted the Bassett Historical Society, which found out the families were connected by marriage.
Another family, the Hundleys, have a single marker for a father and two daughters, whose names are not known. Doss said the family lost its land due to taxes and was buried there with permission from the Burgess family.