Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

May 17, 2013

Grave circumstances

TAHLEQUAH — Cemeteries are often thought of with solemnity. If monuments are properly preserved, they can be a boon to genealogists and historians, and provide a place for generations of family to gather and remember lost loved ones.

On Thursday, a group of people interested in learning about monument restoration and preservation met at Tahlequah City Cemetery to learn more from an industry expert.

Preservation Oklahoma, The Saline Preservation Association and Cherokee Nation Cultural Tourism hosted Jonathan Appell, a professional gravestone and masonry conservator. Appell lead the hands-on, interactive training, while covering topics on how to reset stones, repair fragmented stones, appropriate repair materials, use infill material, and repoint and clean masonry.

Appell has performed gravestone preservation and planning projects on many historic cemeteries throughout the U.S., including the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C.; The Granary in Boston; Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Tarrytown, N.Y.; The First Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Greensboro, N.C.; and The New Haven Crypt in New Haven, Conn.

This is the third year for the event.

The group began surveying markers in the oldest part of the cemetery, targeting those that could be cleaned and reset with the skills and supplies available.

“You see how this monument is tilting downhill?” asked Appell. “This will only get worse over time. Once a monument isn’t level, and especially the newer stones made with polished bases, they begin to slip.”

Appell took the group over to a much older site, where the marker was made of metal and the grave was outlined with a filigreed metal frame.

The frame was broken in several places, but the headmarker was intact. Appell mentioned a number of creative ways the pieces could be preserved.

“This metal piece could be mounted on a newer piece of granite and reset,” said Appell. “As it is now, with metal theft running rampant, people are desperate and they’ll take the metal. A bronze plaque like this probably costs a family about $1,000 to have made. A thief will get maybe $5 to $10 for it at a scrap yard. Thieves will steal metal vases, too, because they’re not connected to the stone.”

Appell recommended having any metal marker mounted to stone using brass threaded rods.

Local historian Beth Herrington was on hand for the workshop and talked about the cemetery’s history.

“This cemetery dates back to 1888,” said Herrington. “We’re working to repair and restore the cemetery and have it listed on the National Historic Register. It’s interesting to know, too, that the cemetery at Sequoyah was moved here in 1905.”

Appell then moved to a vertical monument that had a metal rod sticking out of the top of it.

“Metal rods were used to attach finials or decorative pieces to the tops of monuments,” said Appell. “It’s important to be sure and use a non-ferrous metal, because ferrous metals degrades fairly quickly.”

The next monument surveyed was that of George Lowrey, who died Oct. 20, 1852. It is one of the largest and oldest monuments in the cemetery.

“This has unusual historical significance,” said Appell. “The date is older than anything else here. This one should be cleaned and pointed, but due to its size, it would be hard to move around much.”

Appell noted that many of the new headstones are placed on concrete pads.

“It’s hard to get the monuments to adhere to the pads,” said Appell. “Historically, grave monuments are set in the ground, where they can settle. What’s really important to remember is that practices that apply to construction carry over to cemeteries.”

One participant asked how long the leveling work they would be doing would last.

“This really depends on the site,” said Appell. “Newer [markers] are more iffy. Now, if a monument is 100 years old, it has a very firm footprint, and the leveling will last a very long time. If we properly fill the voids and pack it, it should last quite a while. Of course, it also depends on the area’s drainage and things like that.”

Appell said most monuments weigh between 150 to 175 pounds per cubic foot, making an average size marker weigh in at about 500-600 pounds.

 

To see the complete version of this article, subscribe to the Daily Press e-edition by following the link below.

Click here to get the entire Tahlequah Daily Press delivered every day to your home or office.

Click here to get a free trial or to subscribe to the Tahlequah Daily Press electronic edition. It's the ENTIRE newspaper (without the paper) for your computer, iPad or e-reader.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • ts-Trail-show-1.jpg Jackson takes prize

    Cherokee Heritage Center Museum Curator Mickel Yantz kicked off his 10th anniversary at the venue with the opening of the 43rd annual Trail of Tears Art Show this past Friday.
    “The Trail of Tears show was my first exhibit opening when I arrived 10 years ago,” said Yantz. “Since that time, the show has changed so dramatically; we’ve added so many new artists, and the art work has excelled over time. It’s like Christmas for me.”
    Yantz said he was exceptionally pleased with the opening reception.
    “We had a fantastic turnout,” said Yantz. “We had a lot of fun and sold some artwork, which is great for opening night.”
    The exhibit is on display at the Cherokee Heritage Center through May 26. This year’s show features 130 pieces of art spanning eight different categories, including basketry, graphics, jewelry, miniature, painting, pottery and sculpture.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • churchguy.jpg Some NSU students find Church of Monett offensive

    They turn heads every time they show up on campus, and some students at Northeastern State University are offended by their presence.
    The Church of Monett, Mo., has made periodic trips to Tahlequah to stage quiet demonstrations in public campus spaces in recent years. They carry signs that read, “Wives, Obey your Husbands,”; “To be Married to the divorced is Adultery”; and “Don’t be deceived: fornicators homosexuals idolaters adulterers thieves drunkards - shall not inherit God’s Kingdom.”

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teen sent to hospital after being struck by tractor-trailer

    An 18-year-old Tahlequah man was struck by a tractor-trailer early Tuesday morning on the State Highway 51 bypass near Mimosa Lane.
    Tahlequah Police Capt. Tom Jones said officers responded to the scene at about 5:40 a.m., when Sage Sohns was found injured and lying in the road. A medical helicopter responded to the scene to transport Sohns to a Tulsa hospital, where he was being treated for a closed-head injury, police said.

    April 16, 2014

  • TPS board hears architect presentations for cafeteria

    Members of the Tahlequah Public Schools Board of Education heard from four architectural firms seeking a contract for construction at Cherokee Elementary School.
    TPS plans to build a cafeteria-auditorium and a music room with a stage, which may also serve as a safe room during storms.

    April 16, 2014

  • Briggs.jpg Local man hit with assault, burglary charges

    Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of breaking into a motel room, tying a rope around a man’s neck and stabbing him repeatedly with a syringe.
    Jimmy Dale Briggs Jr., 33, is charged with first-degree burglary, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and two counts of threatening to perform an act of violence.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Boy whose mom scolded deputies in trouble again

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies arrested a 15-year-old theft suspect Monday night after he allegedly assaulted his brother.
    Deputy Kim Novak said authorities were dispatched to a home and ultimately took the teen into custody. While there, they also discovered items that had been reported stolen, including a bed and several tools.
    Novak said the teen is the same boy who has previously been found to be in possession of stolen items.

    April 16, 2014

  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg Plane crash victims recovering

    Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
    According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel

    Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
    Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
    Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
    Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail

    A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
    Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
    There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
    Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault

    A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
    Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

Poll

What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
Undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Stocks