Volunteers Needed For Freedom Cemeteries
Volunteers Needed For Freedom Cemeteries
I have been asking for months for volunteers to help clean up, the town cemeteries. No one has ever gotten back to me to say that volunteers came forward. So I will continue to ask for volunteers because it is important that these cemeteries are kept up. Maybe there aren't any more family members living in the area, or not living at all. The town is responsible to place a flag on each grave of a veteran on Memorial Day and that procedure is done every year in all the cemeteries including the private cemetery of Pleasant Hill.
I want to bring the residents of Freedom up to date as to what has been happening so far, and it may interest those of whom have loved ones resting in their final resting place in one of these cemeteries.
There are total of 16 cemeteries in Freedom, they are as follows: The Danforth-Kelly, Gould, Abbott-Glidden, Spinney, Hutchins, Bradstreet-Commings, Commings/Davis, Penney, Briggs, Thompson Farm (new), Kelley (needs to be found) Sibley (needs to be found), Smithton, Pleasant Hill. The Waterman and Raven. The work on the four private cemeteries are done by Smithton Association, Pleasant Hill Association, Jim Waterman, and Raven.
If anyone has any information regarding any of these cemeteries, please contact the Town Office. 382-6177.
Erna Keller made a statement. “Actually Derek Keller and Glenn Sporie helped me when I started this. Plus Derek and I did the Penney Cemetery, and Glen cut down trees for me there too. Tim Abbott also helped us at the Hutchins Cemetery”. Erna really loved just seeing the progress and found it interesting to look at the stones and trying to see who was buried there and how old they were when they passed away. Many of them were quite young.
Beside those that were mentioned, Kim and Steve Holmes are working quite hard at trying to get these final resting places cleaned up. Kim, Steve, Scott and Erna have done the Danforth/Kelly Cemetery, and are in the process of cleaning the Spinney Cemetery. It would have been done if they could have found out who the landowner was sooner, because they need the landowner’s permission to cut any trees. And we have been reclaiming the Briggs Cemetery for a descendant of them with her help. It's not something that can be done in a day and it has taken many weekends and a lot of muscle.
Cindy commented that “We are all just volunteering and can always use help. There are a couple of cemeteries that we didn't even know about until we were looking up information on Bradstreet”. The past few days Cindy and Erna have been working on finishing the Hutchins, Gould and Bradstreet Cemeteries. They still have more that can be done on Gould, plus they need to check and see how many more are buried there that do not have stones. There was some destruction done a while ago.
Going through old town records need to be done in order to see who might be buried there. beside Hannah Commings. She has the only stone there, but there appears to be many more different markers which may indicate that others are buried there, and to see if we have everyone that has been buried in Freedom listed in the correct cemeteries. That way we will know who still has to be added maybe to a plaque at the entrances, or who some of the broken stones actually are.
They are having a company come in and do restoration to some of the stones... It would be great to have their full names and dates listed.
Cindy stated, “That the Bradstreet Cemetery was the worst cemetery to clean up”. It made her feel really sad.
Volunteers are needed to help with the up keep of cemeteries, maybe adopt a cemetery in your area because they need to be done more than once a year.
Cindy would also like to thank all of the volunteers that helped!
“Every little bit helps no matter how small or how big, no matter what was done or is being done, it counts”.
The Spinney yard is in horrible condition. There are more broken stones than whole ones and there are at least 80% if not more that are down. Kim stated, ”we got most of the small stuff out today, but we need to get up there with a chainsaw to cut up the big pine that is down and has taken a few stones down, and to take a few that are in danger of falling into the cemetery”
I was informed by Cindy Abbott that there is a need to raise a $1000.00 more so that the stones can be repaired letters are needed to be sent out to businesses. Things of that nature will be quite helpful and I am volunteering to do that and take pictures of the stones so that they can be added online for families. Going through the town records will also be helpful. Working with someone else that would be interested in this type of volunteering will be much appreciated.
Cindy was quoted as saying “Big Tim said he would cut down any trees for the cause”.
Cindy and Erna agree on getting together soon as a group and go to each cemetery and see what else still needs to be done, replaced, filled, trees that need to be cut, etc.
Also, landowners need to be contacted in order to get permission if any trees need to be cut. It will probably be a project that will last most of summer.
Permission was given for the work to be done at the Spinney yard, but the road is in terrible condition and it's a walk to get there if we need to get equipment up there to work with. Steve has talked to Ron Price about getting some work done on the road like they did last year on the road to the Hutchins yard. There is one big tree in the Danforth/Kelley that looks like it could be a pain to get down without damaging any stones.
Erna suggested that they attend a Selectmen’s Meeting and present them with a list of thing that need to be taken care of,
She also thought that one day this week would be a good time to get together and just see exactly what needs to be done.
Kim thought it would be a good idea if the Selectmen went with them and they would have a better idea of what had to be done, and what needs to be done before we can get the stones repaired/cleaned.
Erna and Cindy together with another volunteer got up early (or at least early for
Cindy) and finished cleaning The Gould Cemetery two of the older cemeteries in Freedom
The members of the Cemetery Committee are: Cindy Abbott, Kim, Scott, and Steve Holmes, Erna Keller and two others that wish to remain anonymous.
They wish to say a special Thank you to all of those that have helped and are still helping and would like to hear from some new volunteers to pitch in. There is still a lot of work that needs to be done!
You can contact anyone on the committee for further information.