RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Four indirect descendants of Gen. A.P. Hill have asked a Richmond court to overturn a judge’s decision that allows the city to remove and donate its last Confederate statue.
While other Confederate monuments in Richmond have been removed, the fate of A.P. Hill has been complicated due to the general’s remains being buried beneath the statue. This required the city to get a court order to remove the remains.
Four “collateral descendants” of Hill, people with a common ancestor but who do not descend directly from him, challenged Richmond’s effort in court.
In October, Richmond Circuit Court Judge David Eugene Cheek Sr. ruled that the city has authority over the A.P. Hill statue. The decision cleared the way for Richmond’s plan to donate the monument to the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia.
The descendants filed an objection to the ruling in Richmond Circuit Court on Nov. 14 that seeks to dismiss the city’s petition to remove Hill’s remains and give them ownership of the remains and statue. The filing adds that Richmond should have to pay for relocating the statue and $14,010 in attorney fees.
The Nov. 14 court filing objected to the judge’s ruling siding with Richmond that the city had maintained the statue, the monument is not a public cemetery and that the indirect descendants established ownership.
When the case went to court in late September, both sides agreed that Richmond’s plan to move Hill’s remains to Fairview Cemetery in Culpeper should be allowed to move forward. The dispute was over what to do with the monument.
Hill’s indirect descendants challenged the city’s plan to donate the statue to the museum, hoping to have it relocated to Cedar Mountain Battlefield in Culpeper near the Fairview Cemetery.
In court, the descendants’ attorney argued that the statue was a public cemetery and grave marker, not a war memorial, giving them the authority to decide where it should be moved and not the city.
Robert Rolfe, an attorney with the law firm Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP representing the city, argued in court that Richmond owns the monument because it has been solely responsible for maintaining the statue.
The location of the A.P. Hill statue, at the intersection of W. Laburnum Ave. and Hermitage Road, presents a traffic concern, the city also argued in court.
The attorney representing Hill’s indirect descendants did not return multiple calls and messages from 8News seeking comment. A spokesperson for Mayor Levar Stoney told 8News Friday that the city does not comment on ongoing or pending litigation “outside of court pleadings and proceedings.”