EASLEY — The Easley Family Cemetery is getting a much-needed face-lift, thanks to a group of dedicated volunteers determined to claim a piece of the city’s history back from Mother Nature.
For the past several months, Michael Adams and a team of volunteers have been showing up at the old cemetery clearing brush, hauling off trash and tearing through years of thorny overgrowth that has made the plots nearly inaccessible.
“I just think it’s disrespectful,” said Adams. “These people were the Easley family — they started this town. I know some of them aren’t here anymore, that they were moved to a cemetery in Greenville, but some of the family members are still here.
“This is history,” he said, gesturing around the overgrowth, “and it’s disappearing.”
According to the Pickens County Historical Society, the cemetery was originally known as Old Easley Cemetery and is located on land that was once owned by Robert Easley, known then as the Riverside Plantation.
The lot contains graves of more than 100 Upstate pioneers dating as far back as the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Many of the graves are simply marked with fieldstones rather than traditional headstones and their names have been forever lost to history. But several surnames can still be read including Blassingame, Darnell, Dornburg, Easley, Ellis, Field, Gaines, Lark and Looper.
It was designated by the Pickens County Council as a Pickens County Heritage Landmark in 2002.
Along with Adams, Alisha Rodgers, Selena Pemberton, David Phillips joined in the clean-up effort that takes place every other Sunday morning. Newcomers to the project, Thomas and Travis Bryant, showed up as well.
Neighbors in the community state that the cemetery in the past was typically cleared out by a controlled burn supervised by the local fire department — although none of them could remember the last time such a burn took place.
“By the looks of it, it’s been a while,” said Adams. “But that’s why we’re here. We don’t have any heavy machinery, just gloves, tree limb cutters and hedge clippers, but we’re putting in the time and believe it or not, we’re making some headway.”
The Easley Family Cemetery is located at the corner or South Crosswell Drive and Waverly Drive just off South Fishtrap Road coming from S.C. 123.
For those interested in volunteering to help with the clean up, contact Michael Adams at 864-516-4687.
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.