Q. Whatever happened to the Pleasant Garden Cemetery cleanup?
A. It's still a work in progress. But it looks better today than it did 13 years ago when Orchard Knob Elementary School Principal LaFredrick Thirkill started a website -- www.darkfiber.com/tomb/johnson/ -- wrote a play and drew attention to the cemetery by highlighting its rich history.
The overgrown ruin was the burial site of Andrew and Leroy Wright, two of the four Chattanoogans involved in the Scottsboro Boys case; of Lionel Richie's great-grandfather, Lewis Brown, a pharmacy worker and cemetery caretaker; and of Ed Johnson, who was hanged on the Walnut Street Bridge in 1906.
Dozens of volunteers came when Thirkill showcased the cemetery's history until attention and work faded. But retired accountant David Young has visited almost daily for some 30 years to pull weeds and maintain the grounds.
"I just love going up there," said Young, who says he's 70 plus. "People don't understand that. I think the exercise improves my health as I'm aging."
By staff writer Yolanda Putman. Contact her at email@example.com or 423-757-6431. To suggest a topic for Whatever Happened To, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yolanda Putman has been a reporter at the Times Free Press for 11 years. She covers housing and previously covered education and crime. Yolanda is a Chattanooga native who has a master’s degree in communication from the University of Tennessee and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Alabama State University. She previously worked at the Lima (Ohio) News. She enjoys running, reading and writing and is the mother of one son, Tyreese. She has also ...