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Teen Restores Ruined Cemetery

Last updated on Monday, April 15, 2013

(VIGO COUNTY) - A woody area with ties to the past now has new life is returning to the sacred place. And one boy is doing his part to make sure history isn’t forgotten.

Patsy Kelly of WTHI reports that less than six months ago, all you could see was a jumbled mess of fallen trees and debris.

You might never have known that John Chenoweth, who fought in the Revolutionary War, or his son, Eli, who fought in the War of 1812, have their final resting place there.

Both their tombstones were in disarray.

"It's very dilapidated, fallen into a very bad state," said Jacob Wheatley.

This is the history the 17-year-old wants to preserve.

"It's just been about restoring this cemetery that's extremely old and forgotten about...some of these old sites like this, especially one forgotten about is a really unique place to see," said Jacob.

Lyons Cemetery was neglected for years, possibly even a century.

Stepping stones were damaged, the fence was torn down and debris scattered was scattered throughout the area.

Until Jacob stepped in.

He decided to make this cemetery his Eagle Project for Boy Scouts.

"Things about our state's history really is interesting, and plus, you don't get to see it that often," said Jacob.

Sandra Hayes is active on the cemetery committee of the Wabash Valley Genealogy Society.

She said she's lived on the north end for years and didn't even know this cemetery existed.

"There are so many pioneer cemeteries that are disappearing and people don't care about them," said Hayes.

It warms her heart to know young people still care about where they've come from.

"This is our history. These are the people we've came from...These are our ancestors. And we need to honor their memory. They're somebody's great-great grandmother or great-great grandfather," said Hayes.

"I'm hoping people will learn to appreciate their cemetery's more and how they can be valuable to a community's traditions," said Jacob.

16 known people have been buried in Lyons Cemetery.

No state or federal funding was used for this project, just donations.

Lyons Cemetery is in the Northwood subdivision off of U.S. 41.

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