Located on a hunting plantation in Harris County, the Bright Star Cemetery is an important cemetery but holds a cautionary tale. Also known as the Thornhill-Williams Cemetery, it is the final resting place of Nelson and Mary Story Thornhill and several generations of their family.
They were born into slavery on the Sweet Home Plantation, a historic plantation owned by Joseph and Laney Story. According to the 1860 Slave Census, the Story family enslaved 45 people.
Many of the Thornhill descendants still live in Georgia and still visit the cemetery frequently, according to the man I met while visiting the cemetery. He owns the surrounding hunting plantation. The county recently determined that a road leading to the cemetery would remain open.
Unfortunately, at some point, someone decided to spray paint the headstones to make them easier to read. This is not the method to use to read headstones. On many of these headstones, it was still hard to read the names on the markers. The spray paint will cause further damage as the years pass.