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January 21, 2019

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Survey shows wide-spread agreement for Shannon Cemetery memorial made of tombstones; not replacement of 'stones where they were found

Results from the Shannon Cemetery Commission survey reveal wide-spread agreement across the Bluffton community for support for a memorial made of tombstones, but not for replacement of the tombstones to where they were found.

The findings of the survey created by commission member Harriet Moyer were released at the most recent meeting of the commission.

The survey offered four concepts for participants to rate.

The concept receiving the most votes follows:

Remove tombstones and preserve them in a special memorial. Add a gazebo, a flagpole, parking a stone path, rain garden and or naturalized plantings.

The concept receiving the second most votes follows:

Turn the cemetery into a simple but elegant grass knoll with a relatively small memorial marker. Leave the trees in the background. Have a small water proof box indicating the tombstones are on display elsewhere in the village: pictures are available plus a historical display at some of the founders’ memorabilia at town hall, Bluffton’s other historical preservation project.

The concept that was opposed follows:

Replace the tombstones where they were found, but with no assurance their placement matches the actual ancestors’ graves and no particular preservation efforts made. The weathered, fragile and sometimes broken condition of the tombstones makes accurate replacement problematic. Accurate records were destroyed in a fire.

"This survey was an outreach attempt to look at other segments of the community," Moyer said about the survey. “There is a good deal of complete agreement across the community on this and it bears some consideration."

The commission presented the survey to the following four community groups, which included: 

• American Legion Post

• Bluffton Lions Club
• Bluffton Area Chamber of Commerce members

• Bluffton Area Ministerial Association

ATTACHMENTS AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS STORY PROVIDE MORE INFORMATION