Belmont County OGS Cemetery Project
As all genealogists, researchers, & history buffs know, cemeteries often play a vital role for information gathering. They are the places where the bones of the early pioneers & settlers now rest. It’s where they buried so many children that did not see maturity or those who died of disease & sickness now so easily prevented. You can so often see an entire 2 or 3 generations worth of history at a glance. The 1st & 2nd husbands & many times 3rd or 4th wives & the children from both marriages. And it was all changed with each death during a time when people remarried quickly out of necessity. They are the places you find the Revolutionary War veterans & where you quickly realize how many took part in the Civil War with its 650,000 casualties. They are the places of the first churches, community burial grounds, & family plots. In short…they are over 200 years of history carved like a stone tablet library.
Now faded but not forgotten & generally in need of much TLC & preservation. These places need more help than the townships can provide, & they need professional specialized attentions that are not scotch tape solutions. Old cemeteries can be fragile things that must be handled with care from cleaning to repairs. And quite often there is no surviving family left to maintain the graves. The Belmont County Chapter of the OGS took it upon itself to contact Ohio’s premier Cemetery Conservator with Gravestone Guardians of Ohio, to see what could be done. The BCCOGS began working with GGO 3 years ago to restore Captina AME Cemetery in Summerset Twp. Gravestone Guardians of Ohio has been trained & schooled through NCPTT standards & guidelines for cemetery preservation. “The process is simple enough when using the right materials & techniques, but it is a time consuming task to preserve such old works of art”, says GGO owner Mark Morton. “These restorations take specialized cleaners, epoxies, & mortars that you can’t buy at the local hardware. And then the experience needed to use them. That’s the key thing .But it’s truly a labor of love to do my part & preserve this history for future generations”.
Now look what can happen when people work together to restore these places. Here is work that was done on the Sandy Harper monument & family plot in Captina Cemetery.
After cleaning & releveling the monument, the biggest task was to pour 4 new 16 X 18 inch slotted bases to accommodate 4 of the 6 pillars.
Work like this requires some thought both mechanically & esthetically. We wanted this memorial stone to last & be as maintenance free as possible.
100% of all work done comes through one sort of donation or another. This modern stone was donated some time back for one of this cemetery’s many Civil War veterans who had no grave marker. We obtained a WPA map showing his location & set the stone properly.
And once in a while we are able to run across a descendant that has enough of the necessary military records to apply for a govt. issue military headstone. They filled out the forms & Gravestone Guardians of Ohio acted as the receiver & installer of the stone. It’s a win/win situation.
The Belmont County Chapter of the OGS chooses 1 cemetery to restore over 1 or 2 seasons. Currently we are receiving a small grant through the Belmont County Tourism Bd. to start this work. And we are continuing to look for other available grants. There are no less than 188 cemeteries in Belmont County. Most of which are in dire need of help on some level. We feel this is a community effort that all can share in & all can be proud of. And like all things, it works best if we all donate something to it. So please make a charitable donation that you are comfortable with & be a part of preserving this history.
We welcome your feedback concerning theses cemetery projects, you connection to them, & ideas or connections you may have to other charitable organizations or people like yourselves, who wish to help.