January 18, 2023

On a Saturday in September, a group of Ardmore Baptist volunteers participated in the Love the City cleanup of Happy Hill Cemetery. We thought it was a fitting time during MLK week to share a reflection from one of those participants. Here are David Chauncey’s thoughts and reflections.

Though it’s always fulfilling helping out with a church work party, this project was certainly a first for me and quite an experience on many different levels. Helping with the grunt work of carefully uncovering a partially overgrown, old cemetery, was like being an ancient archeologist searching for lost history. I’ve never done this before.

While helping to clear our first assigned area I caught the glimpse of what must be the corners of an old headstone protruding out from under the brush and branches. With goosebumps, I uncovered the burial spot of Sam Evans, a WWI veteran from Florida, with no birth date but who passed in 1935. I felt I discovered a rare gem and yet the Lord gave me an extra bonus since I myself am from Florida having just moved here to NC last year. There was an immediate connection with dear Mr. Evans.

I don’t know if his family is still in the area or if he will ever be someday visited by them, but what a privilege and honor to give dignity back to his existence. Cemeteries are truly sacred spots. We uncovered 4 intact headstones that morning and one partial one – some predating the Civil War. Several church families were part of our work party and they brought their children. The thoughtfulness of these parents giving their kids lessons they may not fully understand until later in life. There is still a large area to be cleared out and presumably more grave sites to be discovered and uncovered for proper maintenance. A dear elderly woman has been spearheading this task for a number of years now since her grandparents are buried there, so I’m grateful the work will continue and will myself look forward to helping again in the future.

Cemeteries certainly make it obvious to us of our own mortality and hopefully spawn spiritual thoughts of where our existence will be after death. May the Lord use this sacred spot to bring family members of those buried here to a saving knowledge of His loving grace and forgiveness.

To God be the glory,
David Chancey


Want to read more about Happy Hill Cemetery?  Click on this link:  https://www.winstonwatchman.com/happy-hill-a-historic-gem-that-wasnt-preserved/

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