Highland News Leader

A Thought to Remember: Work continues at Anderson Cemetery

Johnny Miller’s tombstone lies in pieces at Anderson Cemetery. The stone was reset on Monday by Tim Korte and Roland Harris.
Johnny Miller’s tombstone lies in pieces at Anderson Cemetery. The stone was reset on Monday by Tim Korte and Roland Harris. For the News Leader

The Anderson Cemetery workdays of Oct. 10 and 17 saw repaired tombstones and Indiana stones being reset at the cemetery.

On Oct. 10, only Marvin and Marie Sackett and I were at the cemetery at 9 a.m. We started clearing the areas where the stones were to be reset. We raked the tall grass and weeds into burn piles on the old Sassafras tree stumps, to be burned at a later date.

Before we were finished, Danny Gross, a great-great-great-grandson of Maj. James G. Andersons and Tim Korte arrived. Tim had previously cut most of the cemetery, twice, with our old lawn tractor. (The mower has seen its best days and is really using oil. Maybe you have a two-cylinder lawn mower tractor, that you would donate to the cemetery?)

While Tim was trying to finish mowing the cemetery, the second time around, Danny, Marvin and I installed the large repaired tombstone of Isaac Ferguson Uzzell, the son of Thomas and Mary Dugger Uzzell.

Isaac was the first husband of Elvira Anderson, the sixth child of Maj. James and Hannah McAdams Anderson. His broken tombstone was originally in five pieces, but we could only use the top four pieces. This tombstone was epoxied, where we could, and was set in a form. After 1  ½ inches of concrete was poured in the bottom of the form and along the inside of the stainless steel side U’s, we pressed the pieces into the concrete and then filled around these pieces with concrete, until they were level. This stone had the concrete applied last year, and on this particular Saturday, a complete base was poured around the concrete bottom and the stainless steel sides of the repaired tombstone.

Our lunch arrived, courtesy of Richard Schmidt of St. Jacob. It was fantastic, pork sausage Jambalaya, and to top it off, Rich’s pineapple-cherry upside down cake. Great meal, Chef Richard!

We were stuffed and the second tombstone, took longer than the first.

This stone was for Gilmore Anderson, the father of James G. Anderson. This bottom half of his broken tombstone was epoxied, and it had his death date of Sept. 25, 1818, aged 44 years. We have been unable to find the top half of his tombstone, but we reset the bottom half.

Gilmore Anderson and his family came to Looking Glass Prairie, which is the area today we call St. Jacob Township, in February 1818. He died before Illinois became a state.

Tim and I returned Monday to take off the wooden forms, grind down the edges and back-filled around these two new bases.

Saturday, Oct. 17 was a crisp morning but became a beautiful and fruitful day, getting all 14 Indiana stones set, which Shirley Daiber had “witched” on Friday.

Marvin Sackett, Sandy Miles Nissen, Rotarian Dr. Robert Hellige (the newest addition to our work crew) and myself, arrived by 9 a.m. The crew started on the Indiana stones and had more than half finished before lunch.

Danny Gross arrived and started the John Miller grave site, which was loaded with pieces of the old stone, which had deteriorated. Danny installed the repaired tombstone, next to John Miller’s original base.

Then it was time to have our lunch, with chef Wayne Miles, president of the Burgess Cemetery of Millersburg, grilling the brats, plus all of the trimmings. It really hit the spot. Thanks, Wayne!

After lunch, I left to go to Blue Springs, as Lorna and Mimi, our daughter-in-law from Chicago, were eating lunch there, as Mimi was on her way home after visiting her sisters in St. Louis.

I returned about an hour later to find that Dr. Hellige was finishing the Indiana stones. What a great job he did.

Sandy Nissen used her mechanized weed eater to cut under the barbed wire fences on the west and north sides.

Marvin and Danny dug James and Hannah Anderson’s obelisk stone, which is about 7 feet tall, with their names and dates on opposite sides. It was laying in the ground, where it had fallen, many years ago. Danny and Marvin dug it out of the ground, putting wooden 6-by-6s underneath. They then leveled the 3 by 3 foot Anderson base. We hope to add packed pea gravel underneath to keep it level.

(Do you have a drill that will make a 1-inch diameter hole, about 8 to 10 inches deep, so that a stainless steel pin can be added to both pieces when we epoxy and reset the obelisk on its base?)

Thanks to all of our workers and our chefs for a great job. Well done. The cemetery is getting in great shape, making all of the great workers, proud of their accomplishments.

More Workdays Scheduled

Anderson Cemetery next scheduled workday is Saturday, Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Help is needed to reset the steel fence posts in concrete for the chain-link fence on the east and south sides of the cemetery. Bring your long-handled shovel, level, wheel barrow, a hoe or a concrete mixing shovel, tape measure and a post hole digger to clean out the post holes, if you have one available.

There are also more grass and weeds to be raked, so bring your leaf rakes.

The chain-link for the fence will be stretched on Nov. 14. Do you have any pieces of brackets for the chain-link fence? If so, call Roland Harris, and he will pick them up.

Also, call Harris at 654-5005 (home) or 303-0082 (cell) if you are available to volunteer either day or for directions. Your reservation is needed for lunch. Ham and Cheese sandwiches will be served at noon.