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Historic graveyard’s broken stones to be replaced

Historic graveyard’s broken stones to be replaced

Photos by Michele Newbanks The grave marker for Henrietta Muncy is on the priority list to be replaced, as it is broken and disintegrating.

Last summer, Washington County Historical Society Treasurer Mike Ryan decided to tap into a fund specifically for the Mound Cemetery for an ambition project.

Money from the sale of a book on Mound Cemetery has fed the fund, which has been sitting untouched for several years.

Ryan decided to use the funds to repair or replace markers in the cemetery which are broken or too worn to read. There are hundreds of such markers for the 5,000 or so that are buried there, but he’s spent the last few months prioritizing which should be handled first.

Ryan said he’s narrowed down the list to between 25 and 30. He hopes to replace the markers this summer.

“Nobody knows, necessarily what happened to a lot of these (markers) in the past, but we do know that at one or two times in the past people did come in here and have a project of repairing,” Ryan explained. “That’s well documented. If you look hard enough, you can find some of these markers that have obviously been repaired once before.”

Mike Ryan rubs chalk over the names on a grave marker to make the words easier to read. The chalk helps the letters stand out, but doesn’t harm the stones.

He said in one area of the cemetery, about three rows, is where a lot of early African American burials were which were never marked.

“So there is not necessarily a record of who was in there,” Ryan said. “Maybe we can put up some sort of a marker simply acknowledging that.”

Doritha “Dolly” Muncy was born in 1787 and was the first black recorded as buried in Mound Cemetery. She is buried in the same section as Henrietta and Henry Muncy.

“Mound Cemetery”, written by Marietta College English professor Owen Hawley and published in 1996, states that Henrietta Muncy, daughter of S. and D. Muncy, is the only remaining Muncy family stone, a simple, small, flat-topped low to the ground marker.”

It is the earliest existing grave for an African American in the cemetery, Ryan said. Henrietta was only a year old.

Nearby is her brother, Henry R. Muncy, who died two years earlier at the age of 10 months.

Henrietta’s stone is on Ryan’s priority list to replace, as it is broken.

Other markers on the priority list are:

¯ Lavinia Nieth (1820-1850)

¯ Sally Todd (1789-1825)

¯ Hannah Crawford (1813-1847)

¯ Lucy Behrce (1765-1810)

¯ Anna Gray (1839-1841)

¯ Letitia Bryant (1797-1874)

¯ Lucy Petit (1775-1816)

¯ Caroline Conrath (1858-1858)

¯ Philipine Conrath (1859-1859)

¯ Laura Peters (1856-1856)

¯ Letitia Peters (1855-1856)

¯ Anna Abbott (1810-1861)

¯ Augusta Weld (1840-1850)

¯ Frances Clark (1844-1845)

¯ Argalus Pixley (1775-1850)

¯ Thomas Murray (1777-1813)

¯ Henry Smith (1793-1852)

¯ Amelia Edleston (1836-1852)

¯ Catherine Elisa Schmincke (1857-1859)

¯ John Dabele (1852-1852)

¯ Edward Broadhurst (1850-1851)

¯ Mary Bruce (1844-1874)

¯ Maggie Orr (1855-1856)

¯ Jonathan Plumer, a Mason (1747-1807)

¯ Oliver Dodge, a Mason (1789-1836)

Ryan said he would talk to monument companies and give them an approximate number of markers needed, get a price and then nail down the specific list. It will be 90 days before the markers are ready for placement.

“The only thing we do know is two of them are definitely going to be Masons, because the Masons are donating some money under the condition that it goes toward replacing some of those that need it,” he explained.

In the meantime, Ryan will be working toward condensing multiple databases of information into one that the City of Marietta can use.

“Every database in this cemetery is based on family name, row number and lot number,” Ryan said. “But the family name is first. If you want to stand here on row 61 and who’s supposed to be buried here at this point, there’s no way to look that up.”

He said is now going row by row and comparing what markers are standing to the different databases, which include the Mound Cemetery book, a walking survey done several years ago by a group from Guernsey County and a study done in 1857.

“Plus I’ve got the cemetery records that are located at the cemetery office that that I’m still working off of,” he recalled. “I have to get all of that and it’s not computerized. It’s just literally thousands of documents. It’s the diagrams of some of the family plots, and the individual cards when people were buried.”

He said he has to take a digital picture of each one, load it into the computer and then enter it into a spreadsheet. He will then do the same thing at the city office as far as who bought the plots.

Michele Newbanks can be reached at mnewbanks@mariettatimes.com.

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