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My husband, David, and I spent the summers of 1997-2005, doing restoration work in Round Point Cemetery, near the town of Agency, in Wapello County, Iowa. Over the last several years, several other gravestones have fallen, and we have started working out there again. |
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 any pictures that I can to this web-site, 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. 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 site of my 3rd great-grandparents John & Nancy Bedell and 2nd great-grandparents, Caleb & Mary (Bedell) Miller, was 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. Thick lichen covered the stones, and Benjamin Miller's obelisk was leaning heavily.
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 (101)||[Leave Message]|
|Sharon Snow||RE: Miller family|
You're welcome. I'm still trying to fulfill the other two requests you asked for. I didn't find them when I went out to the cemetery Friday, and I was too busy today since my son got married today. However, I'll be making another trip to the cemetery soon to look for Jacob & George.
|Jackie L. Wolfe||Alex Hartley|
Thank You so Much...That's big Help jackie
|Longmont Genealogical Society||William Stegemann|
I have added his parents to the memorial. I know Willie and Rubye very well. The last trip Rubye made to Iowa, I was the one who took her. I had a daughter in Marshalltown at the time and it was a very fun trip. Mary, LGS researcher
Hello, I found the information on Davis county Geneology website, I may have transcribed the date incorrectly. I have transferred him to you I assume he is a family member, but no matter, I am sure you will care for his memorial.
Added by RRiggan on Apr 14, 2013 9:17 AM
|Alice||Oliver (Pete) & Helen Harnden|
Thank you so much for the excellent photos of Oliver & Helen's grave markers. Your efforts in my behalf are truly appreciated.
Added by Alice on Apr 09, 2013 8:03 AM
|Jay Wade||Francis & Delores Holtsinger|
buried in Shaul Cemetery, thank you so much for fulfilling my request for their tombstone pictures. May I use the photo in my ancestry.com file and if allowed, how would you like photo credit given?
Added by Jay Wade on Mar 31, 2013 6:54 PM
|MFC||Fulfilling photo request|
Thank you so much for fulfilling my photo request for stones located at the Shaul cemetery in Ottumwa. I am thrilled!! Looking at them brings back the best of memories for me, as my grandmother would take me every Sunday in the summer to place home-grown zinnias at all the relative's gravesites.
Added by MFC on Mar 31, 2013 4:42 PM
|"IRISH EYES ARE SMILING"||John Webb|
Maybe the family got mixed up on actual death date and instead was buried as of the date on the stone. Thanks~~
|Todd James Dean||John McCormack|
Thanks very much for sharing your ausome research. I appreciate all your help. Members like you make this site the best there is.
|"IRISH EYES ARE SMILING"||JOHN WEB STONE|
I would just post the stone picture and then I can research more. Like obits that give a different place of burial; it also happens with stones. I generally go by stone dates as the family has the dates put on the stones, and I am prety sure they know the correct ates more than anybody else.
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