- Associated Press - Monday, May 26, 2014

SURGOINSVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - For years, a group of locals has gotten together to clean up the 200-year-old cemetery near downtown Surgoinsville that contains the graves of the town’s founders and some who died for the Confederacy in the Civil War. But after a big cleanup earlier this month, the volunteers realized the old cemetery needed more help than they could provide.

The Kingsport Times-News (https://bit.ly/1nqrhKx ) reports that volunteers are raising money to preserve the old cemetery.

The cemetery is located beside the First Baptist Church, but it was there nearly a century before the church.

One of the volunteers who met earlier this month to mow and trim the old cemetery is Surgoinsville Mayor Johnny Greer.

“It’s beside our church, and we get together from time to time every summer and go up there and work,” Greer said. “There’s a huge poplar tree on top of the hill that’s right in the most historic part, where some of the town founder’s people are. It is a huge poplar tree and diseased real bad in the middle. You can actually see through the middle of its trunk, and if it falls, it’s bound to take some tombstones with it. It really needs to be removed.”

There are at least 10 Civil War Confederate graves in the cemetery. The old iron crosses that marked those graves were stolen years ago.

Donations can be made at any Capital Bank under the Surgoinsville Old Town Cemetery account.

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