I posted a question to a group of genealogist I am apart of on Facebook, and desided it is a good time to post an update to this topic, the Roberts Cemetery Restoration Project. It seems to short of a time from when I started this project this last spring to have spring be the next season around the corner. While it was a short summer it was still a active and busy one.
After talking with other people in my neighborhood and genealogy community about cemetery restoring, we put off cleaning during the summer in order to get more of our ducks in a row. I talked to multiple scout troops to find someone who would like to take the on as an Eagle Project, all met with no luck. I still have plans to talk to someone at the councle level and hopefully they will find someone before we finish it all.
After many emails to different title companys I finaly talked to the right person at KC Title. They were more then willing to help out with this community project. A week went by before I heard anything back, when I did it was brought to my attention that its was a taller order then they originally thought. I dont know what technology they use but it wasnt going to be as simple as putting in an address. They told me it would be a couple of weeks as they would have to go dig into the old deed books to find something that old. I kinda figured as much since its coming up on 150 yrs since the original deed. Shortly after that I got a messege that I should check with the Clay County Historical Society as they should know everything about that cemetery. I let them know that I have been talking with the society for a few years now and that was not going to get me what I am looking for. A couple of weeks when by and I recieved my final email and I got this "Sorry to tell you we couldn’t find anything on the ownership of the cemetery. It’s going to be more of a Genealogy search. We couldn’t find anything where the cemetery ever got deeded to anyone else so it looks like all the heirs of the original owners (from that deed dated in the 1800’s) would be the owners now. So as far as we can tell, it is still owned by the Roberts family."
So now I am back to square one, trying to find ownership and bounderies. I have found some Missouri Laws that state if the cemetery is inactive after 75 year that it could be considered an Abandoned Cemetery. There is some other legal hoops to jump through to make that all offical and I have letters out to the three Clay County Commissioners to hopefilly identify a way forward without costing an arm and a leg.
I also spend some time writing a Project Proposal which you can see here... Restoration Proposal
With all that going on over the summer while the cemetery was green and almost impenitrable we didnt let it discourage us. The Saturday after our November meeting 8 neighbors showed up to the cemetery. We recieved a free rental of a industrial sized wood chipper from Home Depot, that with our helpers and 3 chain saws we started cutting away the honeysickle and whatever else that was growing there that wasnt a tree. We worked on the SE coner of the lot for 5 hours. I think there was just as much dead fall if not more from the decades of neglect. After we finally called it quits we cleared about a 1/6th of the cemetery, but I think everone will agree it wasn't going to happen overnight.
My plan forward is to continue to clean the cemetery. I am going to try to start a tradition in the neighborhood that we work the cemetery the Saturday after our meetings ie cleaning until its cleared, then mowing and upkeep after that. I have found numbers to call the BSA and get headquarters involved with finding someone. The County Commissioners I am sure will be a waiting game but I will still keep my fingers crossed that something will come of it soon.
I appreicate all those who have helped with this project, I am sorry there is just to many of you to name. I will post again next big move forward. Check out below some pictues from the clean up we did.