Tattered Past

Tattered Past: My ongoing journey through genealogy, history, writing, self-exploration and art. ~~~ Rita Ackerman

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Saving History


This is near the entrance to the Phoenix Pioneer and Military Cemeteries at 15th Avenue and Jefferson in central Phoenix. Numerous volunteers have worked for years to preserve and extend the records on this group of early cemeteries. They cover eleven acres and it is thought there are about 3,700 buried here but only about 600 have markers and those are deteriorating.



When they put out a call for people to train in assessing the remaining stones I volunteered Doug and I. I thought it would be interesting and fit in with our love of Arizona history and cemeteries. On Saturday we joined a large number of people at a local library to learn about gravestones. What they are made of. How they are made or perhaps have been repaired in the past. What the emblems and different styles mean. How to assess if they need immediate care, can wait a year or so, or are should be reassessed down the road.

What the planners and volunteers didn't expect was that we would be hitting record temperatures for this time of year. After lunch we all trooped to the cemeteries. Each team had a photographer, recorder, and two others to help assess and measure each marker.


This was the second Phoenix city cemetery. A part of it was bought up by Mr. Loosley but they aren't sure which parts were his so it now carries both names. As you can see, shade is minimal. This was the headquarters where they kept us well supplied with water and even gave us bandannas to wet down to wrap around our necks.


I snuck off for a minute to take this photo of our team. 


We are both very proud of having been a part of this project and have our names down for future work.

I know people have worked hard to save the cemeteries where some of my ancestors are buried. I have records and photos from Illinois, Kansas, Tennessee, Arkansas and other states because of those people. This is my way of giving back to them and to the state I have grown to love.

Have you visited your local cemeteries or those where your ancestors are buried? What are some interesting stones you have found? Do you have photos to share?