An Historic Family Cemetery

Along Lambs Road (in Albemarle County) lies an historic cemetery. Because of the transfer of lands over half-a-century ago, the cemetery has only recently been "re-discovered." When family members and CVHR surveyed the site and the hand-carved gravestones, they realized this sacred site contains the remains of several significant members of the African-American community that once lived in this neighborhood as well as several yet to be identified burials. For more than a century, the Hydraulic Mills at the junction of Ivy Creek and the South Fork of the Rivanna River were the commercial hub of a large rural area northwest of Charlottesville. The following pages share our research into the lives of some of the people who lived here and who achieved so much during such a difficult time in American history.

Index to this mini-site:
•Sammons Family, life and burials (Part 1)
•Sammons Family, life and burials (Part 2)
•Dr. Ferguson, life and burial
•Hydraulic Mills / Union Ridge Community (Part 1)
•Hydraulic Mills/ Union Ridge Community (Part 2)
•Historic Background of the Neighborhood
•A Selection of Archival Sources Used in this Research

The Sammons Family cemetery lies in the path of the proposed U.S. 29-Western Bypass. The family, local history, preservation and community groups strongly oppose any action by the State to exhume the burials and move the remains to a different location.

In a letter of March 25 (2013) to the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) reiterated its recommendation that neither the Sammons cemetery nor the Jesse S. Sammons house were eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. At the same time VDOT reported on its efforts to ensure that the cemetery would not be disturbed by the Bypass, which "can be shifted" to the west of the cemetery. No specific details were provided.

External Links for more information about the efforts to protect the Sammons Cemetery located in the Hydraulic Mills neighborhood:

Save the Sammons Cemetery and the House Facebook Page.
Click here for the FB page.

“Cemetery Discovered in Path of Route 29 Western Bypass”
Newsplex. 1/29/13. Click here for the story.

"Should VDOT Reroute the By-pass around graves of slave descendants?"
Cville 2/16/13. Click here for the story.

Interview with Prof. Erica Caple James, a descendant of the Sammons Family.
Charlottesville Right Now (3/7/13). Click here for the interview.

"Of Heirs, Houses, History, and Highways."
Coy Barefoot blog 3/11/13. Click here for the story.

“NAACP Learns Details of Sammons Cemetery”
Charlottesville News Plex (3/12/13). Click here for the episode.

“Family continues to fight for cemetery in the path of the Western Bypass”
C-ville 3/20/13. Click here for the story.

"VDOT to Re-route Western Bypass to Avoid Impact on Cemetery"
Newsplex, 3/27/13. Click here for the story.

"Mixed Reviews on VDOT Cemetery, letter"
WINA, no date. Click here for the story.

Federal Agency Wants Independent Decision on Cemetery's Significance
Sean Tubbs, Cville Tomorrow 4/8/13. Click here for the story.

Sammons House, Cemetery Added to Endangered Sites List
NBC 29 News, 5/13/13. Click here for the story.

Interview with Professor Erica Caple James of MIT.
Coy Barefoot, WINA, 5/13/13. Click here for the interview.

Sammons House & Cemetery Deemed Eligible for National Register
Newsplex, 8/28/13. Click here for the story.Click here for the story.

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Figure 1: A map showing the location of the Hydraulic Mills Community.


Figure 2: A Map showing the approximate location of the Sammons Family Cemetery.
Note: the cemetery is on private land and is not accessible to the public.