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Cemetery’s decay is shameful

It’s a travesty that Pioneer Cemetery has fallen into the state it is in today. Crushed and broken headstones. Heavily weeded. Grass unkempt.

Pioneer Cemetery should have been treated as the historic landmark it is: one that is the final resting place of Butler County’s earliest settlers, including our county’s founder Capt. William Butler and Walter O. Parmer, namesake for W.O. Parmer Elementary School in Greenville. Instead, it has fallen into a state of decay and deterioration that will take an untold amount of time to repair.

It’s said you can tell much about a community in how its dead are respected. In the case of Pioneer Cemetery, we have shown our ancestors hardly any respect at all.

We’re not sure where the buck stops on this one, but we applaud the actions of the newly formed Pioneer Cemetery Preservation Association and enthusiastically support their intentions to restore the county’s oldest cemetery for future generations to come.

Once re-done, think what a beautiful addition to the City of Greenville the cemetery will become?

Walking tours of historic sites have become popular attractions for tourists, whether those tours are on a seasonal or holiday basis. Centrally located near Confederate Park, Pioneer Cemetery could become another stop on a walking tour that included the historic churches of the downtown area.

According to PCPA Member Miriam Nixon, the cemetery has “great possibilities with its prominent location.”

“It’s right across from First United Methodist Church and within easy walking distance of beautiful old churches in our town, including Saint Thomas Episcopal, First Presbyterian and Saint Elizabeth Catholic Church, all founded in the 19th century,” Nixon said.

The association welcomes anyone interested in joining in the work to contact them.

For further information about the work of the Pioneer Cemetery Preservation Association, please contact Anne Feathers at 382-0229, Jill Stallworth at 382-9597 or Fay Poole at 382-7800.