Volunteers and archeologists cleanup historic cemetery in Micanopy

Haynes Memorial Historic Cemetery received a major cleanup
Published: May. 20, 2023 at 7:20 PM EDT
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MICANOPY, Fla. (WCJB) - Dozens of residents gathered at the Haynes Memorial Cemetery in Micanopy to cleanup the historic site.

Barbara Watson Andrews is one of the volunteers who said the cemetery was established in 1876 and was named in honor of her African-American descendants.

“My grandmother’s grandfather, Erving Haynes became the grave digger,” shared Andrews. “He was known as the grave digger of Micanopy for the colored cemetery and the white cemetery.”

The event was organized by Micanopy Mayor Jiana Williams. Members with Florida Public Archeology Network said it’s the first event of its kind.

“That’s what I’m trying to do, is get folks to come out and even if they haven’t been to their families’ gravesites in in a long time, to come out and reconnect with them,” shared public archeology coordinator, Nigel Rudolph.

Dozens of tombstones date back as early as the 1900′s. Andrews said her great-great grandfather Haynes lived to be 102 years old and she hopes to honor his legacy.

“Not only was he the grave digger but he was a brick layer,” shared Andrews. “He was known by a lot of the community here in Micanopy before he passed.”

Rudolph taught volunteers how to maintain historic tombstones using a biological solution called D-2. He told TV20 he’s working in 9 locations, including St. Peter cemetery in Archer.

“A lot of these pieces of material culture may be the last vestige of that these human beings ever existed on the planet,” stated Rudolph.

Despite the long hours of sprucing up, volunteers said it’s all worth preserving their ancestor’s history.

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