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MURFREESBORO, TN (WSMV) -
He is considered one of the founding fathers of Murfreesboro after donating 60 acres of land where part Murfreesboro was built, but his final resting place has been left in a state of disbelief.
Murfreesboro resident Randy Cooke describes himself as an avid historian.
"There is a lot of history here, and it's all forgotten," Cooke said.
He had to wade through chest-high grass to find the gravesite of one of Murfreesboro's most prominent citizens, Revolutionary War Capt. William Lytle.
"This is Capt. Lytle's gravesite," Cooke said, while pointing at the grave.
The Lytle Family Cemetery, tucked away next to Hayes Brothers Lumber Company, is exactly 50 yards from a Historical Marker at the corner of Old Fort Parkway and NE Broad St. But you would never know there are graves here in its current condition.
"Here we are the weekend of the Fourth of July, the Independence of our nation, a man who fought for our country and made us the nation we are, and this is how we treat it," Cooke said. "It's very sad."
According to historians, Lytle donated 60 acres of land to where Murfreesboro was built.
Cooke, an Army veteran, couldn't believe the current state of the property. There are toppled and broken grave markers, so he called city officials looking for answers.
"This is Murfreesboro right here, and it's sad that it's been forgotten and neglected this way," he said.
City officials said they're not responsible for the upkeep of the cemetery, they said the property is owned by the Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution.
Rick Hollis responded by email which reads, "The Tennessee Society Sons of the American Revolution regrets that the grass has not been cut at the Lytle Cemetery for the past few weeks. The combination of excessive rain and hot weather has caused the Johnson grass to grow rapidly. Arrangements have been made for the cemetery to be mowed next week. The Sons of the American Revolution has maintained the cemetery since it was donated to our group in 1976, and we look forward to maintaining it good condition into the future."
City codes officials will be sending the owners a notice by mail. If the grass is not cut, the city will do it for them and send them a citation.
Cooke is hoping the rich piece of history is preserved.
"It really needs to be restored," he said.
The cemetery is only yards away from where the proposed Bridge Over Broad will be constructed. Tennessee Department of Transportation has already acquired easements to build the on-off ramps. However, officials said the cemetery will not be affected and will remain in its current location.
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