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Posted: December 2, 2016 11:51 a.m.

Cemetery to relocate pending city approval

Descendants needed to claim remains

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The New Covington Cemetery, which will be home to the relocated gravesites, is located off of Southview Drive.

A cemetery will be relocating across the City of Covington, if approved by the Covington City Council Dec. 12, to make way for development.

Located approximately 490 feet southwest of the intersection of Industrial Park Boulevard (State Route 142) and Alcovy Road, between Harland Drive and Industrial Park Boulevard in Land Lot 285, the cemetery is currently the resting place for nine gravesites, according to the markers present at the cemetery Steve Webb, president and senior principal archeologist for R.S. Webb & Associates, said.

“We also found one unmarked depression that may or may not be a grave; we will check it” he said. “It is always possible that unmarked graves are present, but beyond the depression noted above we are not aware of additional graves.”

It is believed that members of the Silas M./Mary Lankford Johnson, John/Mary Johnson, William C./Elizabeth Berry, “Woodie” Berry, W.M. Cook, W.M./Frances Cook and Mary Heard families are buried in the cemetery. Members of other families could be buried there as well.

The gravesites will be relocated to New Covington Cemetery on Southview Drive, according to Webb.

After the city’s public hearing on the relocation – one of the first steps of the relocation process – Webb expects the process to start sometime in January or early February.

“An important component of the process is the identification and notification of descendants through genealogy and various forms of notification,” he said. Anyone who thinks they may have a family member located in the cemetery may contact Neil Brown, historian for R.S. Webb & Associates, at 770-345-0706 or at rswatower@windstream.net.

Webb said the relocation of the burial sites will follow a step-by-step process:

1. Map the grave locations
2. Mark and set aside grave markers (if present)
3. Carefully remove the soil above the burial remains
4. Hand-excavate the human remains, coffin/casket remains and any grave goods (rare)
5. Place the remains in individual, marked relocation boxes
6. Transport the boxes to the relocation cemetery
7. Monitor the reburial of the individual boxes by the receiving cemetery crew
8. Make a map of the relocation site
9. Prepare a report of methods and findings

Webb said it is possible to have individual decedents moved to family plots/cemeteries elsewhere; however that would need to be discussed and mutually agreed upon by the parties involved.

If no descendants can be identified for a known decedent, then the decedent will be reburied at the relocation cemetery with the other burials, Webb said.

“Each grave at the relocation site will be mapped with the appropriate grave number so that if descendants come forth later, they can visit the grave of the decedent at the relocation site,” he said. 

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