The oldest stone in the cemetery dates 1782, thus making the cemetery at least 233 years old! A Cemetery Tour has been mapped out and the tour pamphlets are available in a mailbox on the fence just before entering the cemetery. A downloadable version is below.
The land deed originally called for a free cemetery opened to all. This was a literal meaning! Anyone could bury their loved ones here by simply claiming a spot. No deeds were issued. No record exists of anyone paying for a grave in the cemetery. Over the years, this produced a cemetery with no plot design or layout. There are no roads or walkways. There is no scheme of internment. As one views the grounds, this random selection becomes obvious. No perpetual care fund exists.
Care of the cemetery falls to the local congregation of Zion United Methodist Church. Through the years, upkeep has been a burden as well as an embarrassment. This is due to depending on volunteer help. In the past, sextons, youth groups, workdays, and concerned individuals would do what they could for a time, but the grass, briars, saplings, vines and poison ivy kept growing and the stones would break and fall.
The Trustees of the church addressed the problem in 1974 and opened a Cemetery Fund with the goal of producing perpetual paid maintenance. Needed contributions to this fund can be made through the church.
After many years of neglect, Zion’s Free Cemetery was restored to its current appearance by George Carmen and Harry Hammell. These men spent countless hours returning the cemetery to a place of honor for all those men, women and children who were laid to rest in this free cemetery.
(Please note! Downloadable documents below are formatted in 8-1/2 x 14 legal size.)
Click here to download in Word format – 8-1/2 x 14 B & W