Woman reclaims neglected slave cemetery from Sanford woods

A small band of volunteers is working to restore a Lee County cemetery that dates to the early 1800s and contains the graves of hundreds of slaves.

The burial ground, near the Buffalo Presbyterian Church on Carthage Street, had fallen into disrepair in recent decades and was gradually overtaken by ivy and a pine forest.

“It just hurt my heart,” said Lisa Martin Sanders, who stumbled upon the cemetery last April.

Sanders and her aunt were looking for the grave of W.B. Wicker, who founded a school in Sanford many years ago. They wandered the area for a couple hours before peering into the woods.

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