Family has limited access to own cemetery

July 31, 2008 7:29:47 PM PDT
Outside Henderson, a family that's been in Vance County for hundreds of years says its virtually shut out of the cemetery they know and maintain.

Six years ago Wal-Mart moved in and the access road to the cemetery was ripped out.

The Abbot land consists of one-and-a-half acres of well manicured graveyard, but they need a jeep to get to it.

Alton Abbot says he gotten several flat tires trying to get to the cemetery, but it hasn't always been that way.

Abbot says the family cemetery has been at the location for more than 200 years.

As late as 2001, a county map showed a private road which crossed other property to get to the graveyard.

"Cadillacs, Oldsmobiles, they drove in here as easy as anything," Abbot said.

But then Wal-Mart built a distribution center and the road disappeared. The road was bull dozed.

Now the Abbots have no way to get to their tombstones.

Before Wal-Mart the Abbots say they were promised another road with reasonable access to their cemetery. What they got was an over grown trail with pot holes filled with water.

According to the family, Vance County, Wal-Mart and another property owner agreed to build a new road. But it has not happened.

Dan Wester, the neighboring property owner, says the current trail provides reasonable access.

Abbot disagrees. "We got little old women in their 70s and 80s. Can't even come in here no more. And no one will help us."

The Vance County manger said the Abbots may have a point. Although Alton Abbot has waited six years, he says he can't wait forever.

"I'm probably next to die," he said. "And the only way I know for them to get me in here is thru a helicopter. I don't know any way to get in here."


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