Questions answered after woman discovered headstone on vacant lot

Headstone discovery

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - We’re on your side with an update about that mysterious headstone found in a vacant lot near Woodlawn.

There were many mysteries behind this headstone that had the name Eloise Pendleton on it.

The woman who made the discovery, Sandra Frost, has family who lives next door to where the headstone was found. She wanted to know where Eloise Pendleton died, and more importantly, where was she buried?

24 hours after we found that headstone, we got those answers.

When Frost found this headstone in a vacant lot next to her uncle’s home, we knew we had to call John Lanier. For Lanier, figuring out the history behind sites like these is always fascinating.

“A cemetery may show up any place and the last thing you want to do is disturb it,” he said.

So instead of disturbing it, Lanier and other members of the Birmingham African American Genealogy Group did some research.

The headstone, which was crumbling under a tree read the name Eloise Pendleton, born in 1889 and died in 1971.

And after Lanier walked around the lot, he found other stones that intrigued him.

“I don’t know, it could be a part of a family burial ground. I don’t know,” he said at first glance.

24 hours later Lanier and Wanda Looney, both members of the Birmingham African American Genealogy Group, came back with documents, pictures, and fascinating stories about Eloise Pendleton, who moved here from Selma and had three daughters.

“In 1971, she passed away,” said Lanier. “Her house was on this property right here that I’m looking towards that truck. Her property faced 67th street.”

That house is actually where she died. But, it’s not where she was buried.

“Well, we got some good news!” Lanier said to Frost. “The good news is that Ms. Pendleton was buried Grace Hill Cemetery. And as far as we can tell, there are no other burials out here.”

That was relieving news for Frost, but her next question was, why was the headstone here and not at the cemetery?

“This marker was made a marker for her grave. But it was never delivered,” said Lanier. “It was just left here.”

Now, Frost hopes a relative may hear this and give a proper headstone for Pendleton.

“A mystery,” said Frost. “A mystery resolved thanks to Fox 6 on my side.”

Right now, we’re not really sure about the future of that crumbling headstone. Lanier said it’s in such bad shape that the cemetery probably won’t accept it.

And as for those other stones we found, they turned out to be pieces of concrete, and were possible remnants of a driveway.

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