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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 (136)||[Leave Message]|
|Larry G. Flesher||RE: Shirley Pettit|
You are very welcome.
Small world - I was born in Eldon.
|Geniereese||Obit - John W. Albright|
Thanks so much for sending the obit along. I have added it to the memorial.
|Ron Vest||Vest Photos|
Thank you for your time & effort in providing these 2 excellent photos. Much appreciated.
Added by Ron Vest on Nov 24, 2013 6:56 PM
|IRISH EYES ARE SMILING||Melvin C. Shedenhelm|
Thanks for the memorial stone picture. I AM BACK~~~Sorry for the inconvience
|karen ahn||Emile Bogaerts|
I linked Evan to his father Emile. Thanks for information. You do such a good job with working with families that are not yours. Keep up the good work. Karen
|Sue Tanner||RE: Downing Family|
Debbie, Not to repeat myself, but truly no trouble. I enjoy doing this-Maybe I like it a bit to much. Have fun, Sue
|Sue Tanner||RE: Downing Gravestones|
You're welcome. Glad to do it. You have fun at the baby shower? Sue
|Sue Tanner||Cleaning stones|
I must compliment you and your husband on your job of cleaning the stones. May I ask you what some techniques are that you use?
For me--I use a whisk broom, the stiff bristle type. I have a small tool that I use every now and then to get out the accumulation of grass clippings and such that get imbedded in the letters and numbers. It makes the inscription easier to read. I do have a sponge that I do use because sometimes they are so dark. I use water sometimes, no cleaners of any type ever.
So, when a stone is so dark--what are some suggestions for helping reverse that?
They truly look great. I send you and your hubby a big bouquet of flowers! Thanks Sue
Hi again, So am looking at records at digitalarchives.wa.gov the 1910 census has the 3 of them in Spokane.
info taken then says that Andrew M. was born in Ohio and so were both his parents.
Sophia--She was born in Iowa. Her dad it looks like Ireland and her mom looks like Scotland.
Of course, you know about Mont.
He worked as a house carpenter. Sue
Hi, Well all 3 photos are taken. Am posting now, Mont Downing is in #1. I figure that to be Montgomery? I will create the memorial and you can request a transfer. Sue
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