The fight to get to 'Love Cemetery'

By Tania Francois - email

Harrison County, TX (KSLA) - Through miles of dirt roads and locked gates sits a small historic graveyard called 'Love Cemetery'. About three to four dozen graves are in a little less than two acres of land. The dates on some of the tombstones: 1907, 1918, 1954.

Doris Vittatoe has relatives buried at 'Love'. "My mother's father is in here, somewhere but we haven't been able to find the headstone."

The gravesite is packed with overgrown weeds and brush that only after clearing you'll find grave markers like an old sewing machine leg, a fruit jar and even a shot gun barrel. Vittatoe says, "Some slaves buried in their Caddo Indians buried in there."

The 'Love' grave yard sits in the middle of two thousand acres of private property owned by Shreveport cardiologist Dr. Thomas Brown which he uses for wild game hunting.
He's let the descendants use the roads but it's a rough ride. Only SUV'S and pick-ups will make it.  Dr. Brown says, "they have a legal and a moral and a ethical reason to visit this cemetery."

A much better road leading to Brown's property, almost right to the cemetery, sits on land owned by Snider timber. The descendants have a legal easement that allows them access but it also states they must have insurance. Something these relatives say they can't afford. Further complicating things, Texas law states that access must be allowed in all cemeteries.

Now steps in the Texas Funeral Services executive director, Chet Robbins to help mitigate between the timber company and the relatives of those buried in 'Love Cemetery'. "We just want reasonable access. So let's define reasonable access and that's the direction we're going."

So for now, the descendants of those buried at 'Love Cemetery' are still trying to find a road that will lead them to their past.