I finally was able to visit the Bristol area this past week to look for my grandmother's family cemetery to find that all of the headstones had been removed! The cemetery had a minimum of 30-50 graves/headstones, and probably more. The cemetery was used starting in the late 1790's to at least 1900. The information contained on the headstones, which was never recorded to my knowledge, is the only recorded information for many buried there and I would really like to find the headstones if possible.
The Ornduff Cemetery, which my mother last visited in the late 1940's, is identified on a 1968 USGS survey map. The cemetery is located near Wallace on private land on the east side of Rocky Hill Road (near the intersection with Merrimac Drive), right along the side of the road. A neighbor informed me that roughly 30 years ago (before the land was subdivided and sold and before Merrimac Drive was put in) he saw the headstones being removed and stacked up on an adjacent property. The remains were not removed and reinterned, just the headstones removed. He said that he contacted the Bristol police and the County Sheriff, but that nothing was done to stop it. The current owners of the land (who have lived on the property for about 3 years, I am told), most likely don't know that a cemetery is located on their property. They have a barn situated near the site and horses graze on the land. I was told that the owner of the land at the time that the headstones were removed had the last name McCracken and that he was the owner of a furniture warehouse/store in Bristol. If anyone has an idea of who this is, could they let me know so that I can contact him in order to find out what happened to the headstones?
I did some deed research while in Abingdon, but that was before I found out about the cemetery situation. I would like to tract the land from when it left the Ornduff family (between 1900 and 1910, I believe) to its current owners in order to get some clues as to what might have happened.
Can anyone give me some insite as to how I can proceed. I would imagine that the cemetery location needs to be marked so that it is never mistakenly unearthed. Per the Virginia State Code, a land owner is obligated to keep a cemetery from becoming unsightly and must gain the court's permission in order to remove remains and reintern elsewhere. Just removing the the headstones might be the cheap way to go, but my family has lost access to irreplacement information and the cemetery is not marked in anyway and is is subject to inadvertant desecration.
Thank you for your help,