Volunteers work to restore Raleigh Cemetery - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Volunteers work to restore Raleigh Cemetery

(WMC-TV) - Year by year, volunteers working to restore Raleigh Cemetery make improvements to the property. Now, those doing the work believe they are at the point where they can focus on repairing broken headstones.

The old Raleigh Cemetery is a work in progress. The clean up effort has spanned years, manned by volunteers.

"It's still on life support, believe me," said volunteer, Dale Schafer.

One by one, Schafer and his friends are picking up broken head stones and putting them back together.

"We reset and remortared two stones that had been broken and fallen, and we are half way through with the third one and that third one dates to 1835," added Schafer.

The result, visitors can now read names and dates on the headstones. There are probably a plethora of stones that are too deep underground to find at this point, but what workers and volunteers have found are treasures.

Those buried here are a connection to early Shelby County development including Memphis's second mayor, Isaac Rawlings.

"The oldest one is 1831. It far proceeds any existing cemetery in Memphis," noted Schafer.

Schafer has a passion for history. He is also the historian at Elmwood Cemetery, and wants people to also know the history at Raleigh Cemetery; which is still pretty much hidden. In an effort to bring awareness and attention to Raleigh Cemetery, there will be walking tour through the cemetery.

This will give guests a history of the property and the people buried in the cemetery. It is scheduled for Saturday, April 5 at 1:30 p.m.

You can keep up with the renovations at the Raleigh Cemetery by liking its Facebook page here: http://on.fb.me/1iv5J8K

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