Sons of the American Revolution, Ohio Society Activities

Hocking Valley Chapter SAR to Host Cemetery Restoration Workshop

The Hocking Valley Chapter will be sponsoring a cemetery preservation and restoration workshop scheduled for Saturday, September 19th, from 9am to 5pm. The workshop will be presented by Mark Morton, a professional gravestone restorer and owner of Gravestone Guardians of Ohio.

The workshop will be held at Sponagle Trinity Lutheran Church, 7120 Sponagle Road, 2 and ½ miles southeast of Sugar Grove, Ohio. Participants will learn how to identify different monument types, how to clean gravestones using appropriate materials, repair damaged monuments, and reset leaning or fallen headstones. Actual hands-on work will be done in the church cemetery.

All compatriots interested in learning headstone restoration techniques are invited to attend. Reservations are required and a fee to take the class is $35. Materials for instruction and a light lunch with bottled water will be provided. Please contact Dave Nessley at dnessley@aol.com or call 740-746-8043.

The workshop is part of the Hocking Valley Chapter’s restoration project of the old Carpenter-Koontz Cemetery located in south Lancaster on private property. The cemetery has been neglected and nearly forgotten for decades, vandalized and in disrepair with only one standing headstone among the 57 possible graves of Fairfield County’s early settlers, including four Revolutionary War patriots and one War of 1812 veteran. The Hocking Valley Chapter has the full support of the property owner and was assisted by a few volunteers from the community when work first began on June 13th.

Volunteers began chopping away and removing overgrowth around 10:30 am. The work would continue nearly four hours. Mother Nature cooperated by keeping the rain away until the task was completed for the day.

The newly rediscovered grave of First Lieutenant John Carpenter of the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment lies clearly marked with an American flag to honor his service. An early settler of Fairfield County, he died in 1807, and was a veteran of the battles of Long Island, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, and Germantown. It is said in historical accounts that he had dinner with George Washington while home on leave. Not far, unseen in the photo, is the grave of Emanuel Carpenter, Jr., a captain in the 7th Company “Flying Camp” Lancaster County, PA Militia, also marked with an American flag.


Volunteers of the Hocking Valley Chapter, as well as a few volunteers from the public, stand tired but satisfied in a job well done. All the weeds and brush were removed, and fallen headstones marked with small orange flags. Two Revolutionary War patriot graves were identified, as well as 16 names on various headstones. The area was sprayed with weed-killer to slow down overgrowth, and the next trip to the cemetery will concentrate on finding more graves and headstones.

The class in September will educate volunteers on proper techniques to restore the headstones. When all work is completed, the chapter plans to hold a grave-marking ceremony and commemoration. Please contact Dave Nessley if you would like to help in this project or take the workshop.


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4 thoughts on “Hocking Valley Chapter SAR to Host Cemetery Restoration Workshop

  1. Lila Sybesma on said:

    Do you know of any written records regarding the Carpenter Koonz cemetery? I have an old picture of it with some of my Carpenter ancestors.

  2. Wow, I was looking up information on my ancestor, John Carpenter of the Pennsylvania Rifle Regiment, and see you have a photo of his grave.
    Thanks for cleaning it up!

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