Montague Co. ‘Adopt a Cemetery’ program to restore century old cemeteries

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MONTAGUE COUNTY (KFDX/KJTL) — The Montague County Historical Cemetery Preservation Board has started their ‘Adopt A Cemetery’ program.

The goal: encouraging family or community members of buried ancestors to not only try to locate all the cemeteries in the area, but restore them so that history isn’t lost.

“We need able bodies to cut the brush and build the fences and clear around the tombstones if there are tombstones there. Sometimes it’s just native rock that’s marking the grave,” Montague County Historical Cemetery Preservation Board Secretary & Treasurer Marjorie Hess said.

Many of the cemeteries they’ve already located were just stumbled upon because overgrowth, destruction by cattle, and years of a lack of maintenance had nearly buried them.

“They’ve been abandoned and just left to grow up on their own. Some of them are not even fenced, they’re just letting cattle run in there and everything on them. So, we’re sort of trying to pick out the ones that are more critical, that’s in the worst shape and need immediate care of them,” Montague County Historical Cemetery Preservation Board Member Max Brown said.

With 113 cemeteries located and possible more, the cemetery preservation board is looking for volunteers to bring back these century old cemeteries and the history belonging to it.

“Cemeteries are very holy places. Pioneers suffered enough and when someone had a tombstone, that was huge sacrifice for the family because they were very expensive and these people didn’t have a lot of money,” Hess said.

Hess believes if these cemeteries are not cleaned up within her lifetime they may be lost forever.

Another way you can benefit the board is by attending this months ‘Talking Tombstones’ event on September 28th at the Spanish Fort Cemetery. There, 8-10 people will dress as the dead in the cemetery, dressing in period clothing, and talking about their life as if they are them.

Supper will be served at the event with soup, beans, cornbread, and dessert. Entry is just $10 per person.

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