Provided by Prince William Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism
The Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism announced that the Office of Historic Preservation was awarded a Certified Local Government (CLG) grant from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, in the amount of $31,000 to conduct an archaeological dig at the historic Berea Cemetery, located on the grounds of Forest Greens Golf Course in Triangle.
The Berea Cemetery is known to be the final resting place of Sophia Carter (1778-1832), the twelfth daughter and sixteenth child of Robert “Councilor” Carter and his wife, Frances Ann Tasker.
Part of a colonial-era plantation owned by the influential Carter family, the property known as “Berea” passed to Sophia upon the death of her father, “Councilor.” Sophia Carter never married and ran her plantation and enslaved work force on her own. Upon her death, Sophia was buried on the property and most of her remaining assets were donated to various charities, including a Fredericksburg-area school for economically disadvantaged girls.
The focus of the Berea Cemetery Project is to delineate the Sophia Carter cemetery through archival research and archaeological testing, and to garner more information on the grave site, landscape, and potential for unmarked graves. No exhumation or excavation of burials will occur during this project.
Sophia’s grave is the only grave with a marker, among a possible 40 tombs within the cemetery area. According to Rob Orrison, division manager for the Office of Historic Preservation, the prevailing belief is that the rest of the graves may belong to some of the enslaved community. Through documentary and physical investigations, the hope is to identify all the grave locations and attempt to identify who they may belong to.
The archeological investigation will be conducted by a contracted cultural resource management firm that will meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Professional Qualification Standards, and in keeping with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources Guidelines for Conducting Historic Resources Survey in Virginia (2017).
At the completion of this project, Prince William County Parks, Recreation & Tourism, in conjunction with the Office of Historic Preservation, will install a passive recreation history trail to interpret the history of the farm, the enslaved, the cemetery, and Sophia Carter, using multiple interpretative wayside markers.