Tee to tomb

Dear Ace: Between the 5th and 6th holes of the Meadow Creek Golf Course is an untended cemetery. Do you have any information pertaining to this?—Resta N. Pease

Resta: Usually when someone mentions a cemetery on a golf course, Ace assumes she’s talking about the sand trap that buries all of Ace’s Titleist balls. But in the case of the Meadow Creek Golf Course in Pen Park, there is indeed a very real graveyard on the front nine. In order to explain the presence of this graveyard, Ace needed to delve into a bit of local history.

According to the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, three different families have laid their relatives to rest on the current golf course. First came the Gilmers (1777-1800), then the Cravens (until the Civil War), and finally the Hotopps, who grew grapes on the land for their successful winery into the early 20th century. The Lynch family preceded them all in ownership of the Pen Park land, at least until they forded the James River to what is now Lynchburg and left Albemarle behind. But the Gilmers seem to have the most significant presence in the old graveyard. Dr. George Gilmer and his family owned Park Mill (later called Cochran’s Mill) after which Park Street is named. Remarkably, the 18th-century miller’s house on Meadow Creek still stands today. Ace is not sure how often the house—not to mention the Gilmer gravestones—get hit by errant golf balls.

Ace apologizes for not visiting the historical graveyard in person, but no matter how hard he tries, he can only make it to the fourth hole at Meadow Creek. By that time it’s usually beer o’clock and Ace’s trusty steed, the Acemobile Golf Cart, is heading for the barn.

You can ask Ace yourself. Intrepid investigative reporter Ace Atkins has been chasing readers’ leads for 20 years. If you have a question for Ace, e-mail it to ace@c-ville.com.

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