The efforts in the Old Liberty Cemetery that started this spring have continued thanks to the hard work of Gene Burns who has been cleaning & trimming brush from overgrown and obscured graves. Elton Harris took a day righting stones in the Veterans Circle with the help of Cindy & Veronica Gieger, and Jim Dennis from the Knights of Columbus was also busy in the clean-up.
Gene is interested in our local genealogy and history and we often find ourselves perusing census records, old photos, family histories and cemetery records to make connections to our past which goes back many generations.
This section of the cemetery is referred to as the “Old” Liberty Cemetery because it is the oldest of the 5 cemeteries located in Liberty. This cemetery joins many across the country that have fallen into disrepair after decades of neglect with little money coming in to fund and sustain them. Many have felt the loss of caretakers and the apathy of younger generations.
It is our hope that others will become interested in this endeavor and join us in the reclamation effort. Work and clean-up days are being planned to not only improve what is there, but also to ensure a regular presence to cut down on camping squatters, vandalism and crime. Huge stones have been toppled not by one person, but by groups of people. This is unacceptable and it is my hope exterior lighting can be installed & people will become interested to assist in caretaking.
Someone said, “it is a great reflection on any community, how it takes care of their cemeteries. Being a good member of a living community also means taking care of sacred areas in town and advocating for those that can’t speak for themselves anymore.” We must stand up for what is right and correct what has occurred.
Recently Gene ran into Pat Killian who has an interest in the age-old art of grave dousing. Several months ago Gene was working in St. Peter’s Cemetery when he noticed Pat walking through with a dousing rod. Pat explained that he could locate unmarked graves by walking slowly through a cemetery and as he did his dousing rods would cross and uncross according to the graves he stepped over.
Recently Gene decided to contact Pat to see if he could find unmarked graves in the Old section. Pat did his dousing and could see that there were 15 rows of unmarked graves. His plans are to plot what he finds and in conjunction with any lists we find, perhaps re-create and re-discover the layout of the Old section.
Connections have been made with decendants of this cemetery and we would like to see such interested individuals assist in funding for the continued care of this area.
Please pass the word to anyone who might be sympathetic in this continued effort. Contact the Spirit of Liberty at Spiritofliberty88@gmail.com