From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Eagle Project Is Taking Shape

All In The Family... Life in Christian County, Kentucky... The Rural Life...



Eagle Scout badgeIsaac's been working on the service project that's required for the rank of Eagle Scout. We've been meditating on it for about six months, and now he's finally getting everything pulled together so he can finish it up. It has to be done before his 18th birthday, so it's now (this school year) or never!

The requirement is to "plan, develop, and give leadership to others in a service project helpful to any religious institution, any school, or your community." To fulfill this, Isaac's going to restore an old cemetery in our neighborhood. The community groups that will benefit are the elderly neighbors who have ancestors buried there and the Christian County Genealogical Society.

Old cemeteryThe gentleman who used to oversee an annual cleaning of the cemetery has passed away. Other folks whose ancestors are buried there are elderly themselves. In fact, Isaac chose this project because our 80-year-old neighbor lady is distressed about the condition of this cemetery. Her grandparents were buried there in 1929.

Tomorrow night, Isaac's going to describe the project to the Christian County Genealogical Society. After the cemetery is cleaned, he'll report all the data from the gravestones to them. Maybe this will be a "new" cemetery to them -- but probably not.

This cemetery is located about 1/4 mile off a backroad in a neighbor's pasture. No one has been buried there for about 35 years, and there are about 40 graves there in all (we think). Most of the graves are from 1850 to 1930 and have one of three family names. Our elderly neighbor lady remembers that when she was a little girl, she and her mother walked several miles on a little path through the woods to bring flowers for her grandparents' graves.

Corner post of an old cemeteryLast spring we counted seventeen tombstones that have fallen over and four more that have fallen and broken. A few more may be hidden in the tangle of grass. Isaac's plans include clearing the overgrowth, standing up the fallen stones, and repairing and standing up the broken stones (if possible). A couple of dead trees will be removed, minor repairs will be made to the fence, and the gate will be painted.

One part of the project's requirements is that the Scout has to raise the money needed. Fortunately we don't think that will be a problem. Several of the neighbors have already offered donations, and the elderly lady I mentioned above has offered to take up a collection from family members.

It shouldn't cost much money, anyway. Most of what is needed is work, and that will be provided by the Scouts in Isaac's troop and other volunteers. The biggest expense will probably be feeding the boys on their three workdays.

Old cemeteryAfter Isaac gets an OK from the Genealogical Society (hopefully, tomorrow night), he has to present his project to the Eagle Scout Board of Review at the end of October and get their seal of approval. Then, the Scouts can begin the work. It will be a good time of year for it, because the snakes should be hibernating (or at least feeling sluggish) in November's cooler weather!

After the work is done, Isaac has to report back to the Genealogical Society and ask for a statement that he has successfully completed his plan. Then he goes back to the Board of Review and presents his application for Eagle Scout rank. We'll be proud when he gets it all done. Well, we're proud of him already, but you know what I mean.


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3 comments:

Pondering Pig said...

Snakes? You have snakes?

Sounds like a great project. I always feel sad when I walk by a lost and forgotten cemetery, of which there must be hundreds or even thousands in the US. Where I used to live in Rhode Island there were graveyards way out in the woods, and fieldstones fences where the road had once gone by - but all was trees and silence and squirrels jumping around.

Anonymous said...

Way to go, Isaac. It makes me feel so good when I hear young people taking charge to do good things for others. What a bright shiny light that is. Keep up the work even after your time as a scout is over. You're a real man when you sacrafice your own time and needs for others.

Genevieve said...

At the meeting, they gave Isaac a photocopy of their list of people who are buried there. The last burial was in 1968, and the first one was in 1859.

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