ROCKVALE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A centuries-old cemetery next to Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in Rockvale was in the direct line of an EF-1 tornado Friday night. The tornadic winds knocked over countless headstones and moved them out of place.
“This looked like a war zone,” said District 8 Commissioner Pettus Read.
Miraculously, none of the headstones were damaged.
“It’s quite interesting that you have this many stones across this cemetery and that some of them didn’t hit each other,” said Read. “It just didn’t happen.”
Read said dozens of volunteers immediately stepped up to help restore the cemetery.
“That’s what this community’s been known for,” said Read.
In the cleanup process, he said headstones they didn’t know existed were found after being blown in the tornado’s path. According to Read, there are community members buried at the cemetery dating back to the beginning of the 1800s.
“We can go to these cemeteries and date back all of the families, we know who was here, this is just like looking at a history book of this community,” said Read.
As of Tuesday morning, all of the flat headstones are back in place. Read said the mounted headstones will be repaired by professionals later this week.