Doug and Lori Williams have presented a check to the Champaign County Cemetery Restoration Project LLC to be used for start-up capital costs. The fledgling organization has been operating strictly on volunteer efforts, and the donation will assist in establishing the group as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) LLC.
Doug Williams is a member of the CCCRP Board of Directors,and has a great interest in history, genealogy and community restoration efforts.
He, and many others, have been assisting in the work of the group.
The Board of Directors for CCCRP LLC includes: President, Janet Ebert; Vice President, Joe Rizzutti; Secretary, Mary Putnam; Treasurer, Janet Evans; Photographer, Eric Putnam; and Directors: Sam Hamilton, James Landenburg, Daniel Walter, Doug Williams, and ex officio members Amanda McCall and Susan Tehan.
As with many such projects, this project began three years ago with a simple question. An Urbana Chapter Daughters of the American Revolution file card box revealed listings for all of the cemeteries in Champaign County. There were directions and commentaries from DAR members who had “read” all of the cemeteries. The cards seemed to have been written in mid-twentieth century.
The question concerned the locations, as the roads were numbers, not named. Joe Rizzutti, who had spent many hours at the Champaign County Historical Society mapping the roads and checking their names, offered to help. That work grew into “The Heritage Project” which involved the Bullskin Trail District of Boy Scouts of America, Champaign County Historical Society, and the Urbana Chapter DAR.
It soon became apparent that the work being done was quite successful, and incorporation was appropriate. Janet Evans has contributed many hours, with the assistance of Attorney Darrell Heckman and others, to provide the required applications. All have been approved, with one still in process. The group was asked to change its name to be more specific in its objectives.
The goals of the organization have remained the same: To discover and identify the various cemeteries throughout Champaign County. This work is fairly complete, but verification is proceeding slowly.
Many persons and groups are assisting, leading to the second goal: To build a map for identification, and to provide signs for cemeteries not already marked. Through the efforts of James Landenburg, and, with the encouragement of Champaign County Engineer Stephen McCall, an interactive map has been created.
Directions for the use of the map may be directed to Landenburg at the County Engineer’s Office.
This map may be a first, as persons can receive an “app” and find, or add to, the locations noted on the map. There are fields showing signage, noting other references and providing the geographical coordinates. Mary and Eric Putnam have generated many photos and other information for the map fields. This map also will assist the DAR in answering the many requests for finding ancestors’ graves.
The work of providing signs for unmarked cemeteries is being done by Sam Hamilton, assisted by Richard Campbell. That part of the objective is being sponsored by the Champaign County Commissioners. Township Trustees are working with the organization regarding cemetery names, history and locations.
To determine needs in county cemeteries, and to assist in any way, within their abilities, in restoration. The Kenton Pioneer Cemetery on Millerstown Road has received the largest amount of work to date. Much of the clean up was done by members of the various Boy Scout Troops, and some Cub Scout Packs in the county. Many adult volunteers also worked on this project. Amanda McCall, of the Bullskin Trail District BSA, organizes and supervises the scouting proponent.
Daniel Walter has been especially helpful in noting some cemeteries having no entrance point, as required by the State of Ohio laws. Inquiries are continuing.
Various persons and groups are volunteering to assist, including the Champaign County Horseman Council, prospective Eagle Scout McCall, and others from the three original organizations and members of the public.
Members of the CCCRP are also learning about the preservation of gravestones, and have become proponents of non-destructive products such as D2.
The Board does very little with gravestones, but does encourage family members to check out appropriate means of cleaning and restoring them.
To note burials of veterans whose graves have not been recorded. This provides an addition to county and DAR records. Susan Tehan has done much research for this aspect of the CCCRP LLC.
Assistance and donations are welcomed by the Board of Directors. Questions and matters of interest may be directed to: Champaign County Cemetery Restoration Project LLC c/o 209 East Court Street, Urbana, Ohio 43078-1804. The Board of Directors meets monthly on the third Thursday at the Champaign County Library.
Janet Ebert is a regular contributor to this newspaper.