- Associated Press - Monday, August 11, 2014

MCCOMB, Miss. (AP) - A historic cemetery in McComb will be the site of a court hearing this week.

The eminent domain hearing was scheduled after area residents asked the city to take over and clean up Greenwood Cemetery.

Judge John Price will convene the hearing Tuesday in the Pike County Courthouse, but will then move it to a tent at the cemetery, The Enterprise-Journal (http://bit.ly/1kUdIm3 ) reported.

Board attorney Wayne Dowdy said the oldest record he could find was an 1896 deed recording the Mississippi Valley Co.’s sale of a city block for $10 to E.C. Sharpe as a “colored cemetery.”

Any of Sharpe’s heirs who want to claim the property should attend the hearing, Dowdy said. If none shows up, the land could go to the city, he said.

The city would mow the grass, maintain landscaping and keep trash cleared away. It would not be responsible for maintaining graves, vaults or headstones because the cemetery sold a deed to each plot.

When the city began the eminent domain proceedings, four women showed deeds to plots next to their deceased husbands. City administrator Quordiniah Lockley said the city will honor those deeds, but those women will be the last people buried in Greenwood.

“The citizens who live around that cemetery have loved ones buried there, and no one is taking care of the grounds anymore. Someone needs to step up, and the city has the means to do it,” Mayor Whitney Rawlings said. “We should honor those people, and we should take care of those grounds.”

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