September 23, 2014
The Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex (1879), where over fifty of our ancestors rest, did not become a city cemetery overnight. For years, the process was stalled by a persistent rumor that Fishers Hill Cemetery, a small portion of the cemetery complex, was owned by private interests, a family, who were in steady dispute. Our family decided to approach the family members, and were summarily told that they had ceased to be the owners of Fishers for decades.
Over a two week period in 2011, I searched dozens of deeds in the Portsmouth Circuit Court, and performed a thorough title search for the cemetery property. This report was delivered to Vice-Mayor Charles Whitehurst, who requested that we present before City Council. Within two years, and constant advocacy, Fishers Hill Cemetery was acquired by the City of Portsmouth. The Pauper’s cemetery (behind Mt. Olive Cemetery), was also acquired by the city. The Mt. Calvary Cemetery Complex was made a city cemetery in September, 2014, though none of the cemetery advocates were notified in advance.
As we maintained close contact with the asst. city attorney, he regularly sent us updates and related paperwork about the acquisition. The attached documentation is one of the documents shared with us directly during this long process.
Portsmouth, Virginia City Council Meeting – September 23, 2014
“Adoption of an ordinance (14-368) amending Chapter 9 of the Code of the City of Portsmouth, Virginia (2006) to designate the Mount Calvary Cemetery complex as a city cemetery. Vision Principle:Efficient, Responsive Government.(Electronic Roll Call)”