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He woke up at dawn to dig Harper Lee's grave

MONROEVILLE, Ala. – “Piece of candy?”

Anthony Moffat brought a little sustenance with him to the the cemetery by First United Methodist Church in Monroeville on Saturday morning. Modern equipment makes pretty quick work of grave digging, and it only took about half an hour to carve a casket-sized hole in the ground.

With the fog lifting and the sun rising, Moffat’s job was done. Next to the graves of Harper Lee’s mother, father and sister, a patch of dirt stood newly and neatly hollowed.

“I been knowing of her a long time,” Moffat said of the iconic author, whom he recalled meeting as a child. “She was a real sweet lady.”

MORE: Photos of Lee throughout the years

Grave digger Anthony Moffat. Photos: Jennifer Brett

He wasn’t told whose remains were to be interred next to Lee’s father,Amasa Coleman Lee; her mother, Frances Finch Lee; and sister, Alice Finch Lee; only that he’d gotten the call on Friday, the day Lee died.

“It’s amazing,” he said, looking down into the damp earth. Then he added, “I always thought about getting into writing.”

He sat in his truck and unwrapped a Werther’s caramel apple drop.

Read more of the AJC's coverage from Monroeville here.


Photos of Lee throughout the years

“Go Set A Watchman” inspired both praise and criticism

Gracie Bonds Staples on “Watchman”

Lee’s neighbor remembers her in “The Mockingbird Next Door”

Monroeville buzzed when “Watchman” was released

“Watchman” received a mixed reception

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About the Author

Jennifer Brett is a multiplatform journalist and digital coach. She writes The Buzz blog for

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