Cemetery’s markers righted
SOUTHINGTON — Since last summer, members of the Southington Cemetery Association and community volunteers have continued the work of correcting tilted or leaning pioneer markers at the Pinecrest Cemetery off state Route 305 near the township center.
The association, which was organized in 2002 by a generation of community residents that were in their retirement years, reorganized in 2015 with new officers and new recruits, said Marsha Phipps, president.
In June, about 10 members provided manpower and township trustees provided a monument jack and mover so markers that had fallen over or were off their foundation could be restored.
Phipps said the monument jack can lift up to 2,500 pounds and was created by Joe Riggle and Tom Strock to lift the grave markers that are tall and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.
”We appreciated the support we received from the trustees in getting the equipment we needed and to the volunteers who helped,” she said.
Some of the cemetery’s larger markers consist of three separate stones.
Phipps said the association was able to correct nine of the larger monuments with the monument mover.
”The association meets weekly, correcting three to eight stones a week, depending how large. We’ve done really good work at this cemetery this year. Best-looking pioneer cemetery in the county,” she said.
To date, more than 80 markers have been lifted, corrected and restored this year.
Some markers had been knocked over and some that have three or four separate pieces had been put back together.
”What we have been able to do is make them nice and straight,” Phipps said.
Organizers said they will finish working this month with the last day being Wednesday.
Phipps said in addition to members, community volunteers have joined the project.
The cemetery has some of the oldest markers from the early 1800s, including Civil War markers and markers of the founding families such as the Chalker family, including Newton Chalker, founder of the school system, and Luke Viets, founder of the township.
In addition to Phipps, Sherri Proverbs is secretary and Pam Houser is treasurer.