Cemetery hopes new tool will set tombstones straight

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 5:25 PM EDT
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CONSTABLEVILLE, New York (WWNY) - A tombstone jack will be used to help set things straight at Constableville Rural Cemetery.

With about 220 years of history, the cemetery has seen some of the stones tip or fall over.

The cemetery association board wanted to restore the stones, but they are too heavy to just lift and replace.

That’s where the Northern New York Community Foundation came in. The board applied for and won a $4,000 grant through the Kenneth V. and Jeannette Remp Sawyer Community Fund.

The money was set aside by the Sawyers to strengthen and enhance the communities of Boonville, Constableville and Westernville.

The cemetery will buy a tombstone jack with the money.

Peter Hayes is a trustee on the cemetery association board.

“It’s really one step in several steps we intend to take to restore the look of the cemetery so you need a push, something to get started,” he said.

Now that they can get to work, Hayes says the biggest problem is just finding some of the plot owners because they are in charge of maintenance of their own stones and some are so old that finding next of kin can be difficult.

“Or they are such a distant relative there is not much interest in keeping up the monuments,” said Hayes.

However, Hayes says they are moving on with who they do know. Each plot will take 2 to 3 hours to fix with the jack but they could use more manpower.

It’ll begin this fall and continue on until its living history is restored to its old roots.

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