The Prince William Historic Preservation Foundation has been awarded $10,000 in the inaugural Commonwealth History Fund for the Potter’s Field Cemetery Delineation and Restoration project, according to a county news release.
The project has been funded by a grant from Virginia Museum of History & Culture’s Commonwealth History Fund supported by Dominion Energy.
The Commonwealth History Fund grant will support a ground penetrating radar survey of the cemetery to determine the number of burials and delineate the cemetery’s boundaries. After the survey is finished, a new fence will be installed to better mark the cemetery, and the cemetery will be cleaned of any small brush. No gravestones or other markers will be disturbed or damaged during the project, officials said.
Thoroughfare is a community in western Prince William. The core of the community was established after the Civil War as a predominantly African American community. A strong oral history tradition supports earlier human settlement, including various Native American peoples.
The Potter’s Field cemetery is one of the largest cemeteries in Thoroughfare, located on a two-acre property recently acquired by the county in the Thoroughfare Historical District. Although there are headstones in the cemetery, there are likely many unmarked graves.
In the next five years, the Commonwealth History Fund intends to award up to $2 million for the preservation of Virginia’s historic resources, stories and people, according to the release.