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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Lore

Cemetery Project Update

The weather will be nice soon and we want to be ready to start work in the cemeteries.

Ridgley: Thanks to the donors who contributed funds last year, we were able to repair and reset all the broken stones near the rear of that cemetery. Volunteers were there three separate times to scrape, scrub and spray. We need at least one more time to go and spray D-2 on the stones to continue the whitening process. The stone restorer will continue straightening several stones, and stabilizing some of the larger monuments this year. To those of you who have loved ones buried at Ridgley, please support the work that has been done, and continue to donate this year so that we can finish this cemetery this season. With the white fence, landscaped road frontage, and the lily of the valley by the entrance, (all which is already there), this will be one of the more attractive pioneer cemeteries and certainly worthy of being called a “history park”.

Wright: If you haven’t visited this little cemetery (or even found it yet) volunteers have cleaned stones there at least twice last season. The brush has been cleared all the way to the fence and more gravel has been placed on the road back to the entrance way. Some restoration has been accomplished but we are waiting for quotes on a sign, before we continue. Funds are needed for this cemetery as well, so if you have relatives buried here, or just love the tranquility of a country cemetery, send your checks to the Historical Society. You may designate a particular cemetery or just ask that it be placed it in the general cemetery fund. It will NOT be used for mowing.

Denison: This cemetery on the Bridgeport Blacktop is getting the most “talk” of any of the projects probably because more people pass it daily. Everyone wants to know what is going on there, as they see more and more white tombstones being repaired and standing back up in their bases. No one knows its name (Denison Cemetery) but they are aware of something good happening there! Because it is in such deplorable condition, the donations we received last year just reset and restored Row 2 from the back. This year we are hoping to do at least another row, if not more. This depends on money of course, so please send us what you can.

Bell: We accepted another cemetery under our grant program late last season, but have already started work on it this season. Bell is a large older cemetery located in a beautiful setting by some water and watched over by an eagle. When we were there last week, so many of the oldest tombstones in the rear were on the ground and we didn’t think there were any graves at the east end. However, once the stone restorer completed Row 14, the overall appearance began to change. Work will be continuing on Row 15 and 16 this spring. Restoration really makes a difference in every cemetery but this one will be quite impressive when it is completed. Since so many readers have ancestors here, we hope you will send donations to assist us with this work. Any amount you send will make a difference.

Some of the surnames on the stones at Bell are: Brothers, Cole, Corrie, Cunningham, Foss, Gaddey, George, Hazelton, Hill, Holsen, Inyart, Jones, Kuehling, Lawrence, Maguire, Moore, Morgan, Nesler, Osborn, Perry, Peters, Prout, Provine, Ridgley, Slover, Storkman, Summers, Vanguilder, Wagner, Wright, Young…are you related to any of them?

Huston: Another cemetery that is seeing some improvement is Huston (Umfleet) Cemetery south of the Sumner Racetrack. As the smallest cemetery on our list with less than a dozen tombstones, it was almost completely hidden in the woods. As you can see from our video on YOUTube, quite a change has already been accomplished in just one morning with few volunteers and some tools. Before we can reset the stones though, two dead trees have to be taken down, so they do not fall with the next big wind right in the middle of the cemetery. We have grant money available, but under the terms of the agreement, until we have donations in hand designated for this cemetery, we can not begin. WE are looking for a couple more cemeteries to begin this year, but we need at least $500-1000 before we can apply grant money to the project.

So how can you help? Visit these cemeteries and see for yourself the loving care and respect given by the volunteers who have scraped, scrubbed, and sprayed the tombstones. Give us your name and email, so we can contact you about a workday.

The second way you can help is by donating money for the project. (by check to PO Box 435 Lawrenceville, IL 62439 or by using PayPal on the donation page of our website.

The third way is to convince your rich relatives to give. Just call them up and tell them about our project. This project isn’t just for genealogists but for the whole community to take part in preserving our history. If we don’t, these stones won’t be here in twenty years. Please Help.

Don't forget Monday night's meeting!!

The photo sequence show Bell Cemetery before work, then when the stones were located, and when they have been reset.

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