The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

April 24, 2013

Iowa's Pioneer cemeteries getting some much-needed help

OTTUMWA — You may not even know they’re there. Or you may see a few headstones peeking out of the tree line as you’re driving down the highway.

Pioneer cemeteries can be found all across the state of Iowa, but they’re falling into disrepair as the years go by. History enthusiasts like author Lee Ann Simmers-Dickey are trying to change that.

Speaking at the Reminisce Society program at the Ottumwa Public Library Tuesday, Dickey detailed the work that she and other interested people are doing to restore and document these historic cemeteries. A cemetery is considered pioneer if there hasn’t been a burial in it for 50 years or longer. That makes them a significant part of Iowa’s history, Dickey said.

“Each county [in Iowa] has at least 20 pioneer cemeteries that they’re trying to do upkeep on,” she said. “They’re always looking for volunteers because it can be hard, time-consuming work.”

Restoration of these cemeteries falls to the township trustees and county boards of supervisors. If it is one particular family buried there, then that responsibility falls to the family.

For anyone interested in beginning their own restoration projects, Dickey directs them to their county’s Pioneer Cemetery Commission, the auditor’s office and the board of supervisors. These officials can provide valuable information such as maps and records that have already been gathered.

In Ottumwa, those interested in cemetery restoration can also call Beverly Bethune at 641-799-6863.

“I really want younger people to get involved. I want to get the word out because this is something that’s really fallen by the wayside,” she said. “It takes a lot of people and a lot of work just to get stones cleaned and readable. There are more people doing genealogy and looking for this information.”

Text Only
Southeast Iowa
  • Centerville drug take back set for April 26

    On April 26 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Appanoose County sheriff and the Drug Enforcement Administration will give the public its eighth opportunity in three years to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired

    April 23, 2014

  • Iowa delays plan to move inmates out of old prison FORT MADISON, Iowa (AP) — The Iowa Department of Corrections is delaying plans to close the 175-year-old Iowa State Penitentiary after discovering problems in the heating and cooling system in its $132 million replacement. The department said Tuesday

    April 23, 2014

  • 0423 OTT Byway color photo -L -T -M Bike the Byway coming to southeast Iowa

    OTTUMWA — The first Bike the Byway ride will feature communities along the Historic Hills Scenic Byway and make for a fun day of bike riding. Scheduled for June 21, the ride will begin in Ottumwa and take cyclists through Blakesburg, Unionville, Drak

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Iowa gets nearly $72M in yearly tobacco payment Eds: APNewsNow. DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Iowa received $71 million last week from tobacco companies — its annual share of a 1998 landmark legal settlement in which tobacco companies pay states for smoking-related health care costs. The Iowa Attorney

    April 21, 2014

  • Volksweg.jpg New Section of Volksweg Trail Now Open

    The 1.25 mile newly constructed section of the paved Volksweg Trail between Fifield Recreation Area and the new Robert's Creek Trailhead has been opened.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Managing concerns about falls with program The fear of falling can be just as dangerous as falling itself. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in severe physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Many older adults also experience increa

    April 21, 2014

  • North Mahaska Jazz North Mahaska Jazz Band are Class 1A state jazz champions

    The title is the fourth in the past six years for North Mahaska's jazz juggernaut.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • New boilers cost district $380,000 The summer boiler replacement projects will be getting underway after the Centerville School Board approved a $380,801 bid from Capital City Boiler and Machine Works out of Des Moines during their April 14 meeting. Six bids were received and the boar

    April 18, 2014

  • Troy Rider.jpg Judge grants motion on witness comments

    Judge John Lloyd has granted a motion, filed by Troy Neil Rider's defense, to limit extrajudicial comment by witnesses regarding the sexual abuse case against Rider. 

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DOT photo Public learns latest about Northwest Bypass at DOT meeting

    OSKALOOSA -- Many area residents learned the latest about the U.S. 63 Northwest Bypass of Oskaloosa at a public information meeting held Wednesday evening at Oskaloosa Middle School. The two-hour meeting featured tables with maps of the three propose

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

Obituaries
Record
Facebook
AP National