LEXINGTON, Va. – One of the region’s oldest sites honoring a Confederate general will soon be getting a new name.
During a Thursday night meeting, the Lexington City Council voted unanimously, 6-0, to change the name of Stonewall Jackson Cemetery.
“It’s our history, it’s all of our history. Whether you think good or bad of it, either way it’s still our history. Be proud, be guilty, whichever you feel but let’s keep that history alive,” said Steven Timmers, who stopped by to look at Jackson’s tomb Friday.
Timmers is considering moving to Lexington from out of state and said the renaming of the cemetery makes him think about whether he really wants to live there or not.
“It does make me a little reluctant because I don’t want to see that history damaged,” said Timmers. In fact, pat of the reason we came here is for the beautiful history of Lexington. It would hurt me to see that history go.”
Virginia Del. Ben Cline has also weighed in on the decision, reposting 10 News’s story with a caption saying he’s not surprised.
“Even though Jackson’s story while living in Lexington before the war involved bridging racial divisions, I can’t say I’m surprised by my hometown’s latest move here. I suppose they’ll rename it something like ‘Lexington Cemetery: Now with Surprise Inside!' Or if they want to be more accurate, something like ‘Future Democrat Voter Quarry',” the caption reads.
The graveyard on South Main Street was formerly known as Presbyterian Cemetery.
Jackson was buried there in 1863, but it was not named after him right away.
On April 1, 1949, the cemetery was conveyed to the city by the Lexington Presbyterian Church, according to City Manager Jim Halasz.
On May 5 of that year, the council approved an ordinance accepting the conveyance, trust and naming the cemetery as the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Cemetery.
The city council, which met until 1:30 a.m. Friday said it will now take online input from city residents for possible new names.
They hope to make a decision on the new name during their scheduled meeting on Sept. 3.