Cemetery Recovery Project
This cemetery is located in Nelson County, Kentucky. It was re-discovered (for my family) by Richard T. Bealmear (my uncle), the family historian. My father, Donald A. Bealmear, and his brother Richard first explored the cemetery in the spring of 2001. My son Ted and I (with Richard) were shown the cemetery in July of 2002. It was that evening that the first "inkling" of a recovery project was born.
As you can see, the cemetery was in terrible shape -- badly overgrown with briars, brush and trees. We have obtained permission from the current owners of the farmland the cemetery rests on to start a recovery project.
The cemetery is 60' x 40', and is surrounded by a waist-high stone wall with no gate. Records indicate that there are 18 graves (maybe more), including Samuel and Priscilla Bealmear, who were my great-great-great-great-grandparents. The first burial in the cemetery was in 1824, the last in 1891.
These images of the cemetery (with exception of the headstone pictures) were taken on February 15, 2003. The headstone pics were taken last July.
Click on the images to see them larger.
The recovery project began April 19, 2003. What have we gotten ourselves into?!
Six of us started work on the cemetery at about 9:30 that morning. We worked cleaning, clearing, chopping, sawing, and pruning, until about 4:00 when we were out of energy. These pictures don't do justice to the appearance of the cemetery before we began that morning. I had intended to take some pictures before we started to be able to better show what it looked like. However, pulling up and seeing just what a huge task we had before us had me a bit overwhelmed, and I didn't start to take pictures until we had been working for a couple of hours. The first pictures give you an idea of how thick it was. It did feel like a jungle at first!
Click on the images below to see them larger.
I was truly amazed at how much the six of us were able to get accomplished! We did much more than I thought we might the first day. We worked our butts off! Aside from a couple a large downed trees, and the large cherry tree that still threatens Priscilla's headstone (we felt we were not up to the task of safely tackling that one), the cemetery is clear. Many thanks to all! To my wife Kathy for her hard work, support (and cookies!), to my Dad for his hard efforts, to my mom for her hard work and providing us with a wonderful lunch, to my son Ted for his great help and attitude (it's good to have a kid who's part workhorse!) and especially to Nancy, who worked as hard if not harder than all of us, and still had a 3- hour drive back to Catlettsburg, KY that evening.
Special care was taken to disturb as little as possible the markers there. There is still a lot to do! The next steps will be to identify and map the graves there, pursue proper removal of the large cherry tree (I hate to see it come down, but it is not in good condition, and we feel it may come down on its own, soon), and replacing many of the wall stones which are down.
We would also like to thank the Catlett family for granting us permission to begin. They have been extremely accommodating; they seem to genuinely understand what this means to the Bealmear family, and are willing to help where they can.
To be continued..........
If you have any comments, suggestions or questions, please contact Mike.