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My husband, David, and I have done restoration work in Round Point Cemetery, near the town of Agency, in Wapello County, Iowa since 1997. We always use the cleaners and procedures recommended by the Association for Gravestone Studies. I also take pictures and document our work, and I will eventually put copies of the documentation on file with our local genealogy society and the Association for Gravestone Studies. In the years to come if the stones should fall into disrepair again, it is my hope that these pictures will let researchers see what their ancestors' stones looked like. |
The original records for Round Point were destroyed in a fire many years ago. As we work, we compare the writing on the stones to the reading of the cemetery done by Miles and Helen Bacon in January of 1971. Miles and Helen did a very thorough reading and carefully documented any discrepancies they noted with the WPA readings done prior to 1940. Their documentation has been invaluable to us as we work. As we have cleaned the stones, we have noticed some differences in the carvings and the Bacon's notations. Some of the stones had been so coated with layer upon layer of lichen that letters and numbers had filled in and appeared differently than when the lichen was removed. I have also noted any discrepancies with my documentation.
I have also researched the history of some of the people whose stones we worked on, and I have corresponded with several families. I will post my pictures on any memorials that do not already have pictures on them, and if we worked on the stone, I will tell about our work in the caption - just click on the picture to read it. If anyone has any questions or wants any further information about the work that we did on a stone, please feel free to let me know.
When I started working on genealogy in the late 1970's, I discovered that many of my ancestors were buried in Round Point. Upon visiting the cemetery, the thrill of discovering their graves was quickly replaced by sorrow at the condition of their final resting place. The grave site of my 3rd great-grandparents William & Susannah Dimmitt and their family was particularly deplorable. All but two of the stones were on the ground and could be seen only by crawling around in a mass of overgrown trees, poison ivy, and brush. They were so dirty and discolored, the carving on them could barely be read.
The grave sites of my 3rd great-grandparents John & Nancy Bedell and 2nd great-grandparents, Caleb & Mary (Bedell) Miller, were also a sad sight. John's stone was broken out of its base and was lying on the ground. The top was broken off of Caleb's stone and both parts of the stone were lying on the ground, partially buried in the dirt and grass.
I was saddened by the situation, but I had no idea what to do. Twenty years went by. In the summer of 1997, Indian Hills Community College offered a short course on gravestone repair, taught by Beverly Bethune. We took the class and learned many basic steps for cleaning and repairing gravestones. Our text book was, "A Graveyard Preservation Primer," by Lynette Strangstad.
Heartened by our newly-learned knowledge, but leery of the job ahead, we tentatively started work on William and Susannah Dimmitt's grave site in July 1997. Shortly after our work began, we realized that while our class had taught us many of the basics, there were many things that we did not know how to do. Our textbook was a help; however, many times we just had to explore our options and use our best judgement. Sometimes we would discuss our options for repairing a stone for several weeks before we would proceed. On a few stones, we waited for two or three summers before making a final decision. These decisions are noted with each stone's documentation, and it is our sincere hope that our work proves durable over time.
We had originally intended to repair my family's stones only. However, as we worked that first summer, we found ourselves repairing the other stones in the area. After three summers of work we were finished with my family's stones and those who were buried close by. By that time, we were feeling more confident of our abilities and had found this was an endeavor we really enjoyed. We asked for and received permission from the Cemetery Trustees to continue working on the cemetery's gravestones. Through the years, we have also bought new gravestones for three people who had never had a stone and replaced two stones that were damaged beyond repair.
For anyone who comes to visit the graves of their ancestors, it is our hope that you will be pleased with the appearance of the stones. As we work, we treat each stone as if it was marking the grave of our own ancestor. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who has any additional facts concerning their ancestors that they would like to have me add to my documentation of the cemetery or this web-site.
|Messages left for djtruitt (209)||[Leave Message]|
|Tricia Foster||Aaron & Emily Culbertson|
If you are able to scrape off the lichen do you mind leaving both photos on the memorials. I like the look of the lichen covered headstone but a better reading one would be good as well. I have done that on my great grandparents headstones as well. Thanks so much. Oh ya, the picture I mentioned I had was actually the one you said you were going to take (but I wrote it there before you actually did it!!!). Sorry for the confusion.
Thanks - Tricia
|Tricia Foster||Aaron & Emily Culbertson photo|
Thank you so much for taking this photo for me and for the time & effort you gave. If you are able to go down again to scrape off some of the lichen that would be amazing & very much appreciated. You are right - it is hard to read.
Thanks again - Tricia
|Cape Gloucester||Paul's grave|
Thank you so much for the headstone photo! A great shot and long awaited much appreciated.
Thank you so much for taking the photos of Nettie, Lloyd and Mae Wilson's headstones. I appreciate that you are willing to help others.
Added by Teresa on Sep 19, 2014 7:56 AM
Thank you for the photo of Steve McBride's tombstone.
|karen ahn||Robert & Elizabeth Leahy|
Thanks for taken the time to go to the cemetery and finding the Leahy stone. I really appreciate it.
|Rams Fan||Otis Mather|
Thank You for adding the pic and Obit to Otis's memorial.
Added by Rams Fan on Sep 12, 2014 8:19 AM
|Dozard||William A. Hofstetter # 73925127|
Thank you once again for taking a photo of another one of my ancestor's graves!
Added by Dozard on Sep 09, 2014 2:06 PM
Thanks for catching that error. It's fixed.
|Dozard||RE: Delmar & Wilma Scott|
Thank you so much, I really appreciate you taking the time to photograph their graves!
Added by Dozard on Sep 07, 2014 1:06 AM
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