By Edna Ward
Opelika’s Ross Cemetery has been accepted by the Alabama Historical Commission for listing in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Registry.
The registry, a prestigious listing of historic cemeteries in Alabama, is a program administered by the Alabama HistoricCommission. While listing in the register is an honorary designation, it is also recognition that the cemetery is worthy of both recognition and preservation.
Ross Cemetery is the ninth Lee County cemetery to be listed in the Alabama Historic Cemetery Registry, which now lists a total of 770 cemeteries in Alabama as a whole.
The cemetery, located on India Road, is linked to the old Ross plantation and is estimated to be 100 or more years old. Although it has been periodically cleaned in past years, it was really run-down and trash-strewn when local teenager Kyle Graddy, a Lee-Scott Academy student and a Boy Scout undertook the cleaning up and restoration of Ross Cemetery as his Eagle Scout project.
Kyle, who just recently celebrated his 17th birthday, along with help from various sources, including his father, Dirk, fellow scouts, city employees, has accomplished much of the clean-up. Weeds and undergrowth have been cleared, limbs cut, graves identified and an attractive wrought-iron chain fence installed.
On his own initiative, Kyle wrote the Alabama Historical Commission requesting Ross Cemetery’s listing on the Alabama Historic Cemetery Registry. He has worked closely with the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission throughout the project.
Edna Ward, who has long been involved in cemetery and other historical preservation and genealogical research, said, “ [speaking] for the Lee County Cemetery Preservation Commission and the Genealogical Society of East Alabama, we are very proud of the work Kyle Graddy and his friends have done to preserve Ross Cemetery. There is so much history associated with Ross Cemetery. We sincerely appreciate the Alabama Historical Commission’s approval of Kyle’s request for historical recognition.”
Kyle Graddy is an outstanding young man, The descendants of those buried in Ross Cemetery and, indeed, all of us Opelikans owe a very real debt to him.