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Volunteers clean up cemetery in Middleburg that was vandalized last year

MIDDLEBURG, Fla. – Dozens of people from all walks of life gathered Saturday at the Fowler Community Cemetery in Middleburg to clean up the burial site and pay their respects to those who have passed on.

The cemetery was in the news last year when it was vandalized and a baby girl’s grave was desecrated.

“It hurt, and I couldn’t figure out why someone would do something so evil,” the girl’s grandmother, Maude Burroughs Jackson said. “I can’t comprehend how someone could be that evil and have that kind of hate. I can’t figure out a reason for it.”

Burroughs Jackson said her granddaughter was stillborn almost 14 years ago and had been in the cemetery ever since until her remains were unearthed by the vandals.

“Pulled her body out and laid it in the dirt, and that was really a horrible thing,” Burroughs Jackson said. “They just knocked down tombs and broke up headstones and mean things. We don’t know who or why.”

Makayla Merriweather’s remains are no longer there, but a tombstone with her name is, and her grandmother still visits it.

A tombstone honoring Makayla Merriweather remains in the cemetery, but her remains were desecrated by vandals last year.
A tombstone honoring Makayla Merriweather remains in the cemetery, but her remains were desecrated by vandals last year. (WJXT)

Burroughs Jackson said she has other family members still buried in the cemetery, which is also called Grant Foreman Cemetery or Forman Community Cemetery.

“My husband was buried out here 22 years ago, and as I think about it, I know if I had been the one out here, this place would look like a flower garden, because he would be out here all the time taking care of it,” she said.

Dozens joined together Saturday in an event organized by Black Lives Alliance Clay to give the graveyard a little TLC.

“It’s our responsibility, living in this community, to remember our loved ones as they were before,” Burroughs Jackson said. “And we should take care of their final resting place.”


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