Cemetery restoration efforts continue in the county

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What an eventful year for cemetery restoration!

The Township Trustees are responsible for maintenance and care of various public cemeteries around the county, and they are doing a fantastic job of enclosing with fences, putting up signs, and seeing that the mowing is done on the cemeteries for which they are responsible, and in some cases completing restoration.

The Switzerland County Cemetery Commission, established by the County Commissioners and funded by the County and private donations, has this year been able to begin to get some restoration completed. Previous to 2010, discovery of ‘lost’ cemeteries was the primary concern, but with spring and the funding as mentioned, restoration began in earnest.

In May of this year the Shaw Cemetery, located off of Garland Road, was restored; and the county’s first ever ‘State Seminar for Volunteers’ was held in the Vevay Cemetery.

Jeannie Regan-Dinius, of the Indiana DNR, Antiquities Division taught the seminar; and John Walters and crew, of the Graveyard Groomer, gave on-site instruction in proper restoration techniques in order that volunteers might be certified by the State for future work projects.

The Vevay Cemetery and the Patriot Cemetery have each had some restoration work completed this spring and again this fall. Much more restoration is needed, but great strides have been made.

Please visit these yards to see the results of this work. The large obelisk of Mr. Dufour, the founder of Vevay, was totally restored in the Vevay Cemetery; and the Julia L. Dumont Club sponsored the restoration of the two Dumont obelisks. They look wonderful.

At Patriot, some real mysteries are showing up due to the 1937 flood. Stones not seen for years are being discovered and reset. Please notice the picture this week of the Catharine Kramer stone, of which we are trying to find an original picture.

Spring work in these cemeteries was marked by orange tape and fall work was marked by green tape to better give visitors an idea of the work completed.

Also this fall the Gullion Cemetery, located on the old Roy Lee Patterson farm, now Switzerland County Economic Development, was restored by the SCED. Already some Gullion descendants have visited and are thrilled with the finished work. Given time, a fence and a sign will go up at this site.

Jake and Shila Geyman worked to restore the old Hunts Creek Cemetery by rebuilding the stone wall and resetting a large headstone and footstone there. Extensive restoration is still needed on two remaining stones, and those will be completed by Graveyard Groomer next spring.

It has been really great to experience the cooperation between the Vevay and Patriot Town Boards and the Commission, and to have the great co-operation of out of the area property owners as well, who have so graciously allowed exploration of family burial plots on their real estate.

We so appreciate the volunteers who have worked to properly restore and register so many old burial sites. We believe 2011 will afford even more opportunities for preserving these historically significant outdoor museums we call cemeteries.

– Carolyn Reed Miller,

Switzerland County

Cemetery Commission Member