Carpenter-Koontz Cemetery Re-Dedication – Lancaster
On Patriot’s Day, Sunday, Sept. 11th, the Hocking Valley Chapter hosted a grave-marking ceremony attended by approximately 250 participants and guests. Members from the SAR, DAR, CAR, SUV, and Ladies Auxiliaries, as well as representatives from the city of Lancaster attended. Chapter President David Nessley was Master of Ceremonies, and Ohio Society SAR President Donald McGraw was the keynote speaker.
The ceremony capped a year and a half long project by chapter members and a few local residents in restoring the pioneer-era cemetery totally destroyed by vandals and neglect.
Last year the chapter began by clearing brush and overgrowth and finding as many of the missing and broken pieces of headstones as possible. Then the chapter sponsored a tombstone restoration class to learn necessary techniques for doing the restoration properly. Slowly over the months, pieces were put together like a jigsaw puzzle, along with research on the people buried there.
Today, about a dozen tombstones are put back together and the work will continue into next year. A 1939 WPA map helped locate the graves of four of the five veterans known to be buried at the cemetery. A new memorial stone with the names of the veterans was commemorated. They are: Emanuel Carpenter Jr., John Roland, and John Carpenter who were veterans of the Revolutionary War; David Carpenter who served in the War of 1812; and Lewis Pearce, who served in both the War with Mexico and the Civil War.
Transportation was provided for participants and guests by tractor and seated-trailer up to the secluded location from the parking area. Boy Scout Troop 165 directed guests to the parking area. Music was a major component of the ceremony provided by Heritage Fifes and Drum lead by Jeff Taylor, bagpipers Jordon Irwin and Alex Smith, singing by Sharon Hardman, and violin solos by student Madeline Sifford. Unveiling of the new monument was done by descendants of John Carpenter who drove in from Chicago.
Members of the Hocking Valley Chapter and a member of the SUV depicted each of the veterans “speaking from the grave” and describing their lives. The Color Guard was led by State Color Guard Commander Tony Robinson and a three volley musket salute by the Honor Guard was led by Chapter Color Guard Commander Bob Davis. It was a beautiful day, and property owner Steve Moore was very pleased. He said the ceremony so moved his sisters that they cried wishing their mother was alive to see it all.