Nelson County Man Fights to Save Family History from Dominion Pipeline
Wingina, VA - A Nelson County man is fighting to protect his family history which lies in the path of Dominion's proposed 550-mile pipeline.
In a quiet community in the heart of Wingina, Reverend James Rose opens the gates to the Peaceful Garden Cemetery.
It's one of four known African American cemeteries in the Union Hill area."I have cousins, my grandfather, my grandmother, aunts, cousins, my wife was just buried here in December" said Reverend James Rose.
Rose's family cemetery sits on a former plantation deeded to his great-grandfather in 1887. The earliest marked head stone dates back to the '30s but there are many unmarked graves that likely go back further.
"Our ancestors fought hard to keep it and they wanted us to continue on" said Rose.
So Rose has taken up a fight of his own against Dominion, to prevent the company's 42 inch pipeline from cutting through a part of his history.
"To have them come in and try to disrupt part of it is ludicrous" said Rose.
Dominion's pipeline comes near -- but doesn't cut through any of the cemeteries in the area. However, opponents say there is no way Dominion can avoid significant historical sites in Southern Nelson County.
"It's the combination of the historical African American community the native American sites and historic properties" said pipeline opponent Janice Jackson.
After much research, Janice Jackson created this map to illustrate those areas she says are threatened by the pipeline. "You can't go anywhere in this area without touching something that is incredibly sensitive" said Jackson.
Reverend Rose intends to one day be buried in Peaceful Gardens too. Hopefully, he says, pipeline free.
Reverend James Rose says he has denied Dominion's request to survey his land -- but the company hasn't yet filed a lawsuit against him.
A Dominion representative told me today a number of families in that area have done the same. But he says the whole point of their land surveys is to identify and avoid any significant sites like these.
He says Dominion has made many adjustments to the potential pipeline route, and will work with landowners to make more if necessary.