Family members of enslaved people at Buffalo Forge gifted cemetery

ROCKBRIDGE COUNTY, Va. – Imagine your friend gifting you property where your ancestors worked.

10 News introduced you to two lifelong friends in our Black History special last year about Buffalo Forge revealing enslaved people in Rockbridge County.

“It’s exciting for me because I love history,” Brandall Branch who is a descendant of enslaved people at Buffalo Forge said.

Branch is excited the church his family are members of is getting a major gift.

“I always believed to know where you’re going you have to know where you came from,” Branch said.

In this case, Branch knowing about land where his enslaved ancestors worked, and are potentially buried there.

Branch grew up in Glasgow, a town in Rockbridge County.

In Rockbridge County off Forge Road was an iron-making and farming operation called Buffalo Forge.

Buffalo Forge is a place the Thompson family stayed connected to long after their ancestors were gone, and it also created a bond of friendship between Brandall Branch and Susan Brady, a descendant of Daniel Brady, a master of Buffalo Forge.

Susan and Brandall learned as recently as last November, that there’s a deed that shows Susan is the rightful owner of an abandoned cemetery that’s located near the former Mount Lydia Baptist Church.

“The deed stated if there is no longer a church or school there, the property would revert back to the Brady family,” Branch said.

Branch said at some point Mount Lydia Baptist Church burned down.

Branch said Mount Lydia Baptist church members moved and started Union Baptist Church in the 1960′s. And since Brady is the rightful heir to the cemetery land, she plans to give the area Union Baptist Church members, who surprisingly are related to Branch.

“I’m very glad to do it, I hope that I brings them ease or joy,” Brady said.

Brady is expected to participate in a ceremony where she hands the deed to the Branch’s family members on Saturday, Feb 24.

About the Author

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.

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