BLUFFTON — With work continuing to renovate the Shannon Cemetery in Bluffton, a local group dedicated to its restoration is looking for public assistance in making that vision a reality.
Friends of Shannon Cemetery is working to restore the original headstones in the cemetery and return them to their proper locations, but that takes money, according to chairperson Tracy McIlroy. To that end, Friends of Shannon Cemetery has set up a donation fund through First National Bank on Cherry Street in Bluffton.
“The town has their own fund, and people can donate directly to the town,” she said. “For our fund, we’re guaranteeing that this will only be used for the headstones. It’s not going to be used for a memorial or anything else that the town has proposed previously. This is just money to restore, repair and replace the headstones where they belong, and any money we have left over after we’re doing resetting the stones will be earmarked for preservation of the stones and given to the town.”
Group members will be meeting with Mark Morton, a preservationist with Gravestone Guardians of Ohio, who will give lessons on how to repair the limestone grave markers and reset them in gravel using proper techniques.
“We’re going to be asking for donations in the future of gravel, cleaning supplies and stuff like that, but we started the fund so we could afford to get started,” McIlroy said.
The group has been able to compile a complete list of the names on the stones and have been able to determine grave locations through a combination of old photographs and ground-penetrating radar.
Donations can be made in person at the bank, by mail at Save Shannon Restoration Fund, 112 Cherry St., Bluffton, OH 45817 or online through PayPal at http://bit.ly/2mcOoNT.