GSMC members along with museum workers spent several hours Saturday, June 8th cleaning up Memorial Place (aka Kentucky Soldiers Park Cemetery). This cemetery was first used to bury the men of the Kentucky Militia who has died during the battles and massacre of the River Raisin in 1813. The bodies of the soldiers were later exhumed and sent to Detroit and then to Kentucky for burial. The cemetery "prospered in 1834 when Monroe was swept by a cholera epidemic". The last burial was in 1838, although there is one memorial stone from the 1850's for a person who died in California.
The cemetery was allowed to deteriorate and around the turn of the LAST century a petition was started to eliminate the cemetery. In 1902 a group of ladies formed an organization to save the cemetery, establishing it as Memorial Place.
The cemetery has again been allowed to deteriorate with most of the stones covered with a layer of dirt and sod.
Andy Clark, the Monroe County Historical Museum director, suggested we tackle getting the cemetery cleaned up and contacted the mayor to get permission for our group to begin work. Dave Carter and Gary Priebe from Carter Cemetery Preservation, Inc.
graciously offered their time and expertice to show us the proper technique to clean a tombstone. A dozen GSMC and museum volunteers descended on the cemetery to unbury the stones and uncover the inscriptions.
Thanks to Judy Carr, Andy Clark, Lo D'Arpini, Sue Donovan, Loretta Dunham, Jeff Green (Monroe Historic Preservation Officer), Ann Lux (with her foot in a cast!), Nancy Mattox, Rose Nisley, Lucy Pitcher, Barb Roe, Jim Ryland, and Florence Wilson.
Jim, Florence, Andy and Barb hard at work.
Rose, Judy & Ann uncovering a broken tombstone.
Lo Marie recording the information on the stones. Sue Donovan is right at home in a cemetery!
Thanks to the volunteers, close to 50 stones have been uncovered and the information recorded. According to ground penetrating radar data provided by the city, there are 72 stones in the cemetery. The volunteers did some great work in just a few short hours!
Examples of a stone in great shape and one needing repair.