The state of Indiana is home to thousands of abandoned or neglected pioneer cemeteries, the oldest of which now approach 200 years. The goal of this project is to identify, protect, restore and preserve as many of these cemeteries as possible. This project was founded on the belief that we owe our pioneer ancestors a better monument than a forgotten grave amid bramble and thicket.
The Indiana Pioneer Cemeteries Restoration Project was begun in October 1997 as an effort to generate public awareness about the neglected pioneer cemeteries of Indiana. Many volunteers have join this effort.
Hello, I am Larry Truitt, the Indiana PCRP Coordinator for Boone County.
Public awareness: To make this project a success it will be necessary to involve as much of the general public as possible. Local media cooperation will be sought to help "spread the word". The more people who know about this project, the more volunteer researchers and custodians we will have. This will also help encourage the cooperation of local land owners when their property must be crossed to gain access to a remote cemetery.
Record creation: Most of these old cemeteries have no known plat records available. One of the top priorities is to research those records if they exists, or create a plat record when possible. All available plat records will then be posted to this web site as well as submitted to the local library.
Site Restoration: These cemeteries are in various states of neglect and decay. Through volunteer effort, each cemetery will be cleared of debris and weeds, depressions filled, and toppled markers returned to an upright position. With expert volunteers it may be possible to repair some of the broken or vandalized monuments. Restoration volunteers can be individuals, families, or groups, or churches and other organizations such as Boy/Girl Scouts. Workshops are available to help everyone interested in learning skills.
Site Preservation: After a cemetery has been restored, project volunteers should continue to monitor to guard against further deterioration or vandalism. Efforts need to continue to educate others.
A few years ago I was taking pictures of our family cemetery in easten Kentucky, when my battery went dead. I thought I would go back later and complete the job, but that would never happen. A cousin called to inform me all the grave stones had been destroyed by vandals. The total disregard for the historic value that this small family cemetery has for my family was never a consideration of those who choose to destroy a part of my family history. They had a total contempt for our family cemetery which was a unique genealogical, historic and cultural record of my family. This small cemetery was a place where I could walk in the footsteps of my ancestors. This was the place where the memories of my family heritage was stored. This was the outdoor museum filled with history and irreplaceable artwork of my family. Gone forever!
You ask, what does this have to do with me? In Thorntown we have a cemetery that is the oldest in the county. It is in disrepair and is being destroyed everyday by invasive plants, trees and erosion. Grave stones are broken, fallen over, buried, and moved. Trees along the fence row are invading graves. This is not the way to remember those who trusted us to preserve their memories. The way we take care of the dead is a direct reflection on how we take care of the living.
I cannot bring my family cemetery back nor restore the historic
and cultural record of my family, but I can help preserve and restore
If you are
interested in helping to restore the
Click the link below for more information about the Indiana Pioneer Cemeteries Restoration Project http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~inpcrp/