MAYFLOWER, Ark. – A father-son duo in Mayflower is giving up their weekends to restore a piece of family history.
The two are working to clear up a plot of land right off Red Oak Drive in Mayflower. To most, it may look like an open field but beyond the trees is the answer for the work, engraved in stone.
“If you would have passed here you would have never thought it was a cemetery,” 17-year-old Enoch Ryan said.
Pleasant Branch Cemetery first opened in the late 1800s and since on record, 148 people have been buried on its plot.
“My great grandmother Emma Dickerson was on that list,” Levell Ryan said.
Ryan said his cousin told him about their great-grandmother’s burial site. Ryan says he took his son to visit a few months ago but when they arrived, it looked like an overgrown forest.
“I told her that’s impossible,” Levell Ryan said.
Ryan says after a few minutes he and his son were able to find just five gravestones still standing.
“My heart just fell in love with the fact that my grandmother was buried at this location, and I wanted to do something about it,” said Levell Ryan.
Ryan and his son Enoch have been working for the past six weeks clearing the spot with hopes they can bring life back to the final resting place.
“Cutting grass, cutting briars, pulling them down,” said Enoch Ryan.
At first, it was just the two working but now the Ryan’s have more hands to help.
“I was really shocked because I never even thought people would even care,” Enoch Ryan said.
People from the community are now stepping up to help, hoping soon the forest will clear and shine a light on a forgotten piece of history.
Levell Ryan says he hopes to get the cemetery cleared in the next month. He says the final touch will be a plaque with all 148 names on it, so families like his can pay homage to their loved ones lost.