Friday, February 3, 2023

Five on Friday: Big Week for the Local History Nerd

Discoveries, graves and awards, oh my!

1.  The graveyard where I did Graveyard Tours last fall has many missing headstones. We've been told stories of "helpful" folks once clearing the overgrown yard by straight up plowing head and footstones into the woods along with the prickers and bramble bush. We've also heard there was a man who used to take stones for his pet cemetery. I have been searching for the missing stones with no luck, but last week one came right to me! It was donated by a man who's had it in his barn for thirty years, left by the previous owners who had discovered it when excavating for an addition. 

It wasn't just any stone, it was a really special one: the headstone for a man whose footstone had been found in the woods and was the very first interment at Mount Lebanon.

Found, clean and set approximately where we suspect he could be buried last fall.

Discovered & returned . . . to be cleaned, repaired and set in the spring.

2. After thinking for months "I need to get in touch with the Mount Amwell Project to find out more about grave repair," the need became more pressing with the return of this significant but broken stone.  

A friend saw my post about the rediscovered grave and then struck up a conversation with a stranger at a brewpub. This stranger happened to be a vital member of the MAP (and is seen in the video on their website) and gave my friend his number for me. He visited me within a few days and gave lots of good advice and offers of help!

3. Advanced ticket sales for Tipsy History opened on Wednesday and were halfway sold out within a few hours.

4. My ongoing research for Tipsy History led me to a graveyard in Phillipsburg, looking for the final resting place of Margaret Rinehart, who had been exhumed from Mount Lebanon and moved there to be next to her husband. I, in the words of my daughter, "Sherlock Holmes-ed it up" and used a number of clues to determine that two basically illegible stones were the ones I was looking for. The clues were good but I wanted more proof. So after a stealthy stone cleaning and rubbing, I got the final proof I was looking for:
Sure looks like -H-A-R-T to me! I'm satisfied!

5. Lastly and the most exciting: I was just informed that my Associate Curator and I are being honored with an Award of Recognition from the New Jersey Historical Commission for our research on the Carlisle Indian School student Outings to our town (and throughout the state)

We knew as soon as the pieces of this story started coming together that this was tremendously significant. We've been very proud of this work and it's nice to be recognized for it!

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