Cemetery Restorations - Introduction
Ralph Hendersin has provided a brief oversite as to why he undertook
these projects and some specifics on how they were accomplished.
Ralph initially chose
small pioneer type cemeteries after being inspired by the
[Indiana Pioneer Cemetery Restoration Photos]
posted to the web. He reasoned that although cleaning of stones
would probably not be a problem, no regular cemetery sexton would
want a novice to attempt repair of the stones in “their” cemetery till
they could demonstrate a capability of successfully completing these
tasks without resulting in further damage. Ralph emphasizes that the
sexton’s good will is very important, so treat them accordingly.
Ralph is quick to stress that, in the restoration of old “abandoned”
cemeteries, it is very important to contact the land owner(s) for permission to enter
upon their property. In his experience, Ralph has yet to find a landowner
who has shown any sign of refusing after being carefully explained what
the intentions were and politely asking the best way to access the site
without damaging any crops or interfering with their operations. In fact,
the majority of landowners have shown a great spirit of cooperation.
For those of you viewing this page who feel the repair projects are
beyond the scope of your capabilities, begin by cleaning your relatives
stones. Most of you will find some of them are in need of this. Perhaps
some of you would be interested in volunteering a few hours a week to
help the sexton accomplish these tasks. There is plenty of this work to
be done in every cemetery. This becomes evident when visiting any one
of them and observing the conditions (leaning, lichen encrusted, broken
or sunken monuments). The individuals that are charged with maintaining
most of these cemeteries may not have the time or funds to accomplish
Ralph's goal is twofold. The primary goal is to demonstrate that
restoration can be done by anyone. His secondary goal is to arouse
enough interest to bring forth volunteers to clean and/or repair
damages caused by aging or vandalism in their local cemeteries.
Ralph and his crew clean the stones using Procter & Gamble “Orvus” soap,
a biodegradable, non staining compound that leaves no residue to
reappear as a stain at a later date. This product may be found in
stores dealing in animal husbandry supplies and is also available at the
Onalaska Farm & Fleet store.
Ralph uses a Sparta Brush
Co. #48X, also purchased at the Farm & Fleet store. This is a brush
with stiff “poly” bristles (stiff nylon also works well) that will clean
without damaging the stone. CAUTION!! DO NOT use wire brushes,
metal scrapers or harsh cleaners such as “409” because of the
damage caused or the staining residue that will remain.
Ralph repairs the broken tablet stones with “Devcon” clear, two part
epoxy. There are several choices within this brand name but he selected
the variety that is waterproof, recommended for stone and concrete,
and is slower setting than most epoxies (30 minutes working time).
This allows ample time to make last minute adjustments before and
during clamping. This epoxy can be found at the local Walmart store.
While Ralph prefers to make the wood clamps he uses, there are many clamps
available at woodworking supply stores such as Menards, Home Depot, etc.
Finally, Ralph strongly recommend that volunteers deciding to undertake
some of this work study the
[REFERENCES] he has provided. This will make the
project go smoothly once started. The end result is a great feeling
of accomplishment upon completion.
This information has been been graciously submitted by
would like to thank him for this contribution. We would also like to
recognize and acknowledge Ralph Hendersin for his dedication to researching
MonroeCoWI and making his research available to others FREE of cost.
Thank you Ralph ...
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