Cemetery talk draws large audience

Published 8:00 pm Friday, September 17, 2010

The biggest personal hurdle in merging the historical society and the genealogical society has been mastering the spelling of genealogical.

Thank goodness for spell check.

The merged group had a big night last Monday, the largest attendance in some time of members and guests to join us for wine, dinner and a program.

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And, no doubt it was the program which prompted the mega interest.

Clayton Penhallegon has been for more than a year conducting research on the historic Oak City Cemetery in Bainbridge, which dates back to the mid-1800s.

Looking for a program?

Here’s an opportunity for many groups large or small needing a meeting program to learn something about an extremely historic site within our community.

Clayton has invested hours of personal time, accumulating research records, trekked over the sacred grounds, gathering photographs, analyzing the gravestone symbols and documenting the famous and infamous who now call Oak City their final resting place.

All his efforts have been organized into a power-point presentation, and along with the photos and script, the program opens our eyes to the treasure we have in Bainbridge.

“An outdoor museum,” as he calls it.

Research shows that this ground before it became a cemetery was used for many outdoor functions including parades, festivals and other celebrations

There are the grave markings of Civil War soldiers, World War veterans, and others who were active in various organizations.
You will find names of the early settlers, names which still grace the phone book today such as Callahan, Sharpe, Bruton, Arnett, Donalson, Sunborn, Powell, McCaskill, Woodbury.

Clayton reminds us that there is a need for cemetery maintenance, an effort to oversee overgrowth and undergrowth, weeding, and other personal garden chores not part of the City’s care program. He suggests the establishment of a cemetery foundation to oversee proper maintenance of graves and grave-sites, and proper cleaning of monuments.

The evening was also a call for membership into the Decatur County Historical and Genealogical Society. We need new members, particularly younger people in the community interested in its history, and interested in preserving its history.
The November meeting will recognize historic structures—either businesses or homes which have a historic significance. We will award three historical plaques at the November meeting. One structure in Climax has already been selected, but you may offer your suggestion for two more to be recognized.

The owner of the structure is invited to give a short historical presentation of the building, bring photos, scrapbooks, or any items of interest.  This program is usually well attended.

So, have something you would like to suggest?

You my call yours truly at 248-0955 or 246-8803 and enter your suggestions. The Board of Directors will pick sites at our next meeting in October.

In the meantime, plan to be with us in November. Prospective members are invited to attend, and your meal will be complimentary. Call the same numbers for reservations.