JOY TIPPING/Managing Editor
Using a small paper bowl and brush, Dave Snyder applies a coat of adhesive to part of a broken obelisk in Richmond Cemetery.
After the adhesive sets for about 10 minutes, Synder’s son, Ben Snyder, driving the “Tombinator” construction vehicle, hoists the piece of obelisk over the unbroken portion. Austin Kessler guides the stone into position.
Three parts of the obelisk are pieced together for T.B. Fowler’s 1875 gravesite.
Down the hill, the gravesite of Wilson R. and Maria E. Holman, who died in 1893 and 1894 respectively, sports a stone sphere about four times the size of a bowling ball. The sphere has just been placed atop the marker.
“A bunch of kids (years ago) somehow got it off and rolled it down the hill, all the way into that house across the street. … We brought it back up here and buried it (halfway into the ground) so that wouldn’t happen again, but it’s just been sitting there all these years,” cemetery trustee Powers Alder says.
The two markers are among about 35 being repaired this week at Richmond Cemetery in the 600 block of West Main Street. The crew, from Jacob’s Ladder Cemetery Restoration Specialists, also has trimmed greenery around gravestones to make mowing easier.
Alder says he and Bruce Thurman are the only trustees looking after the cemetery, and he is not sure who owns the land due to cemetery record being lost in a fire years ago. County Assessor Kent Wollard says the United Methodist Church owns the land, though the Rev. Jeremy Blevins, pastor at Richmond United Methodist, says that comes as news to him.
“We’re definitely going to look into it,” he says.
Richmond Cemetery ownership could become an issue when funds run out, which “won’t be long,” Alder says. Tombstones repairs this week will cost around $4,000, and keeping the grass mowed each summer costs about $2,400 a month.
“The problem we have is that so many of these graves are more than 100 years old, who are we going to ask for money?” Alder asks. “A lot of these families have no one left around here. … The donors have just died off.”
If anyone is interested in helping, he said, “We will gladly accept it.”
To donate for Richmond Cemetery upkeep, or for more information, call Powers Alder at 660- 232-1935 or email him at palder@ embarqmail.com. Donations also may be mailed to Richmond Cemetery, c/o Powers Alder, 81 Tomahawk Lane, Lexington, MO 64067.
The complete version of this story appears in the Friday, June 29, 2018, edition of The Richmond News.