Some headstones buried under debris at Portsmouth cemetery


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — A woman reached out to 10 On Your Side to help her figure out why a local cemetery is in a state of unrest.

The historically African-American Lincoln Memorial Cemetery is home to thousands of souls in Portsmouth.

One of them is Annette Sutton’s grandmother, Lillian Green, who was laid to rest in the 1970s.

But Sutton says it is not always peaceful when she visits her grandmother’s grave. She says she always has to bring a broom to help her locate and then brush off her grandmother’s gravestone. She often finds herself cleaning off other people’s gravestones too because she feels so badly.

We did a similar story back in 2011, with the same cemetery. Back then the people responsible, Wimbrough and Son’s, said they check and clean up the grounds regularly.

According to Sutton, still to this day there are some gravestones are either broken or damaged so bad you can’t tell where the headstone is supposed to be.

“I call it restless souls, because you know, people pay for the upkeep of their cemetery for their loved ones and it’s horrible,” she said.

Sutton, who has been fighting to get this cemetery cleaned up, was very emotional when talking about this situation.

“The owner of this cemetery, I bet you they wouldn’t let their family member come out here. They wouldn’t bury them out here and leave them like this,” she said.

The City of Porstmouth said it’s still the responsibility of the privately-owned Wimbrough and Son’s business to maintain it. When we spoke with them in 2011, they said they check on the site once a week.

We reached out to them on Wednesday and have not received a call back.

Sutton said despite her frustration, she feels the responsibility falls on her shoulders.

“She’s my guardian angel and I’m always going to be out here at this cemetery for her, and right now it’s everybody else,” she said.

She said she won’t stop until she knows the souls who lie there can once again rest peacefully.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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