Historic cemetery gets new entryway
The entrance to a historic cemetery in Grant Township was rebuilt to restore it to its former splendor.
Using rock from a Chase County quarry, stonemason Phillip Klenda built two new entrance columns for Grant Township cemetery.
Klenda remounted original granite signs on the columns. He set the capstones in place Monday.
Eileen Sieger, who serves on the cemetery board along with her husband, Skip, said serving on the board is a family tradition.
“My father did it for years before he died,” she said.
Helping take care of the cemetery is personal for the Siegers. Her parents, Oliver and Julia Pavey, and infant brother, Wade Rene, are buried there.
Skip’s parents, Harry F. and Opal Sieger, also are there.
Early records show Grant Township cemetery was first planned in early 1880. The minutes of the first meeting of the cemetery board, Feb. 24, 1880, list Sherman Pierce, Levi Kline, William Vinyard, Charles Dody, and Zina Francis as the first board members.
The board called upon the Florence Cemetery Association for guidance. Land was purchased from Charles Dody for $24, with money raised by subscription.
Lots to accommodate 12 family members sold for $12.
A fence was built around the cemetery in 1882.
Close to 60 veterans’ graves are decorated with flags for Memorial Day weekend.
“There are some that continue to refer to this cemetery as the Youngtown Cemetery,” Eileen said. “I have tried to make that known as incorrect as even some obituaries have stated that. Various people over the years have helped compile records of burials, which are up to date.”
Sieger said the earliest dates of birth of people in the cemetery are August Dody, 1803, Giles Perry, 1807, and Stephen Vingard, 1807.
The earliest death was Mary L. F. Bradley, born in 1862 and died in 1864.
A wrought iron fence still needs repainting and a small building outside the fence needs restoration. Those are projects that will have to be done as money allows, Eileen said.
Other stonemasonry projects by Phillip Klenda include a gateway to Marion’s Central Park, an electronic sign northwest of the park, and a recent sign on the north side of Marion High School.
He also has done numerous other projects in Marion County.
Last modified Oct. 13, 2021