Dumont Club works to revive, restore markers of John, Julia L. Dumont

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Many people may not know that much about the Julia L. Dumont Club in Switzerland County, perhaps thinking that the members only give a $50 scholarship to the highest ranking senior English student each May.

Some may think that their Christmas charity donations are a nice contribution to God’s Storehouse. Others may have seen members placing flowers on Julia L. Dumont’s grave and that of Julia LeClerc Knox each Memorial Day.

Few people realize that the Art Deco-style Julia L. Dumont Club Chapel on the grounds of the Vevay Cemetery was built in 1924 through the efforts of the ladies of the club. These ladies recognized a great need in our community for grieving families. Those members of the community whose loved ones died in the winter often could not bury their dead because the ground was frozen. Sometimes during inclement weather, they needed a shelter for their burial services.

This past year the ladies of the Julia L. Dumont Club had new cause to take action.

Repairs to the chapel had to be made and costs had risen greatly since 1924. The ‘White Elephant Sale’ within the club netted only a small percentage of the costs. After one of the club members attended the County Cemetery Commission’s workshop on gravestone cleaning and repair, a realistic evaluation of Julia L. Dumont’s grave and that of her husband revealed that stabilization and cleaning of the graves could prevent future calamity.

High praises go to the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation for accepting two grants from the Julia L. Dumont Club and funding the greater part of both grants. Because of the Vevay-Switzerland County Foundation’s help with the roof repair, much of the cost has been met.

Furthermore, its financial help, coupled with assistance from the Switzerland County Cemetery Commission, has allowed the club to use the services of John Walters and his company to safely and professionally dismantle, clean, stabilize, and reassemble the two Dumont monuments.

All the inscriptions on the monuments have been recorded as well as having been cleaned.

Further thanks goes to the Community Foundation of Switzerland County for acting as our fiscal agent and any other help it may give to our small club. Roger Nay and Howard Hazeldean must also be praised for the chapel work they have done.

The repair and cleaning of the gravestones of John and Julia L. Dumont and the repair to the chapel means a great deal to the citizens of Switzerland County and to the members of our club and Indiana.

Julia L. Dumont was the wife of John Dumont, who was a very important man in our community, county, and state. He was a very important governmental official. Julia, his widow, raised their many children through hard physical labor, through her writing, and through her job as a teacher in Vevay.

She was Edward Eggleston’s and George Carey Eggleston’s teacher. Both these famous writers have declared she was the reason for their success as writers. She is still listed today as a Midwest Regional Women’s Writer.

These tombstones mark the remains of some of our earliest Switzerland County figures. The Julia L. Dumont Club, a literary club named after her, has been in existence since 1886.

- Janet Hendricks