Members of Jasper County's Cemetery Preservation Board say a county-owned cemetery that many people have forgotten about needs attention and some tender loving care.
Marjorie Bull, Clyde Hood and others with the board told the Jasper County Commissioners on Tuesday that they were concerned about conditions at the Woodlawn Cemetery, a paupers' cemetery just north of Carthage's Oak Hill Cemetery, east of Interstate 49 and south of Oak Street.
The cemetery is unmarked right now, something Bull said the board hopes to change with a marble marker they plan to install at the facility.
Bull said it appears that the county sold off part of the cemetery at one time because there's a house located on part of the property listed on maps when the land was deeded to the county in 171.
“What we'd like to do is get the county to get that cemetery surveyed and see exactly where the property lines are and get a lot of that rubble that's been bulldozed up taken care of,” Hood told the commissioners. “We'd like to come up with a regular maintenance program on it.”
Bull said the people buried there were paupers. They had no family that could afford to bury them when they died, so the county gave them a no frills burial.
Bull said that the last burial she can find records of having taken place in the cemetery was in the 1950s.
She said no one knows exactly how many people were buried there, but plats from the 1870s show spaces for 297 burials.
“Several years ago we did a new index of Oak Hill Cemetery, but I have a list of 135 people that aren't in the Oak Hill Cemetery index but they are listed in the obituaries as having been buried at Oak Hill,” Bull said. “So we don't know where they are buried, if they're in the pauper park, Woodlawn Park or over in Oak Hill, but we need to do some kind of something to know where the cemetery is.
“I think it behoves the county to take care of the dead that we have buried and paid for burying them there.”
In other business, the county commissioners on Tuesday approved buying new radios for the street department to match the radios being purchased for the Jasper County Sheriff's Office.
Commissioners approved spending $20,014.70 for 41 radios and accessories.
The commissioners also approved buying four new vehicles for the sheriff's office. The vehicles are two Dodge Charger cars for a total of $46,428, and two Chevy Tahoe SUVs for a total of $56,356.