Headstone Repair is like restoring an old car. Some take alot of work while others just need very little done. Over the years people have come up with good & bad ideas on how to mend their families headstone. I have seen in person and on the internet some of both. The picture below show example of both and are picture I found on the internet so they dont belong to me or represents my work, just some examples. Without seeing the stone in person it wouldnt be right for me to give the proper instruction on how to fix each stone but I will point out the good or bad of each repair as it appears in the photo. I always love seeing photos of stone repair you have found so feel free to share them with me. Sharing ideas and seeing what others have done, good and bad, helps us all grow in our knowledge of stone repair. Before you do any repair consult myself or someone with the experience to make sure you dont harm the stone.
Here we have a stone with two different breaks that seem to have extreme wear at the breaks. If you look behind this stone you will see another one fixed in the same maner. Its obvious that this fix will only hold up until the wire rust apart leaving the stone vulnerable to fall and create new breaks.
Here we have a stone with what appears to be a center break and possibly a bottom break. This stone appears to have little wear at the center break and should have been a simple fix. I have no idea what the concrete at the bottom of the stone is for but I'm sure it shouldnt have been used. The galvanized steel frame would have been a good idea for a more permanant fix but was sloppy exacuted and wasnt used to help stand the stone back in place which would have been its intended purpose.
Here we have a stone with a simple lower to mid break. Its very obvious that they drilled through the stone and bolted this iron flat metal for support. As you can see in the picture, the iron is rusting and staining the stone but the most harm was done with the drill by creating a week spot in the stone where it is now drilled.
Not everyone in the Headstone preservation work would agree with me here but this is a great example of how metal can be used to give a more permanant fix. The metal used here is aluminum channel and was used properly so that it doesnt cover the face of the stone and is welded with braces in the back. The stone itself was nicely repaired and the metal was used to help support the stone to stand. This addition should last many years to come.
Here is another repair that some headstone preservationist might get ill over. I dont believe that this stone needed the addition of the concrete frame but it will provide extra protection. The mid break in the stone seems to be a simple one and would have required basic repair but the person who did the work on this wanted the added protection and did so in a neat and clean way that doesnt obstruct the face of the stone or damage the stone in any way.
There is something special about growing up in Sweet Owen County. Many before us raised here have gone on to do great things and help progress our state and country into the world we know today. One such person was Samuel M Ralston, former Indiana Governor and State Senator. Samuel was born December 1, 1857 in Ohio. by the age of 8, his family had moved to a farm in northwestern Owen County near Poland. Here Samuel attended school and worked on the family farm with his three brothers and four sisters. In 1873, after the family suffered a finacial hardship, they lost the farm in Owen County and moved to Fontanent, Indiana. Samuel worked in a butcher shop and a coal mine to help the family finacially. Later his father open his own butcher shop. Samuel decided to take work as a school teacher while going to Central Indiana Normal College. After obtaining a science degree, he decided he wanted to study law and was admitted to the bar on January 1, 1886. Later that year he opened his own practice in Lebanon, Indiana with partner John Abbott. Samuel ran for Governor in 1912 and was elected to the office on January 13, 1913 and served until January 8, 1917. Samuel was elected to State Senator and held that office from March 4, 1923 until October 14, 1925 when he passed away. He is buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Lebanon, Indiana.
Those of us that have been blessed to grow up in Owen County know what a positive influence this must of had on Samuel as he worked his way up the political ladder. There is something special about growing up here, you cant put your finger on it...its just a feeling.
When it comes to hobbies, Genealogy is 2nd only to Gardening in the US. Some genealogist will claim its not a hobby but a way of life and for some it may be. I have been researching my family line since 1996 and it can become somewhat of an addiction. The challenge to discover your family roots stays constant and feeds the addiction to dig deep and see where the journey takes you.
So was the case when I met Cindy Coleman. Cindy had been in contact with my friend Casey Winningham as she prepared her trip from Florida to Owen County to find her ancestors. Cindy found that some of her family headstones were in need of some maintainance so Casey had her contact me. I met up with Cindy and Riverside Cemetery and my first impression was what I was hopping for. I could tell right away that she shared my passion for preserving our ancestors final resting place and the excitement of finding her family was very contagious. We looked at some family headstones there then proceeded to River Hill Cemetery where I reset and cleaned a member of her Coffey familys headstone. She was so happy, and the next day her sister Rene flew in from Washington state and joined the journey with her.
Their travels took them to Columbus, Ellettsville, & Freedom and it is here that Cindy contacted me again. They was looking for their McIndoo Cemetery in hopes of locating some of their McIndoo family and was unable to find it. I had never been to McIndoo Cemetery but the next day, Tracy and myself headed out to find McIndoo Cemetery and even though it was a long hard hike, we found it. I told Cindy that I found it and Rene and herself met with me the next morning so I could guide them to it. There was 3 McIndoo farms back in the day and they all layed on the east side of the railroad tracks south of Freedom on a farm now owned by Abrells & Hickams. The ladies and myself headed out on the close to 2 mile hike down the tracks and through some of Owen County's beautiful woods. Upon our arrival, the ladies were so excited as I cleaned the face of each stone and they was able to read them.
Although their mother has passed on, they are looking forward to sharing everything they have seen with their father and future generations in their family. They was able to document and photograph so much legacy that there is already talk of a return trip later this fall. Thanks for the adventure Cindy & Rene!
My name is John Maxwell and I am a Co-Founder of Headstone Healers of Indiana and a Find-A-Grave Volunteer who enjoys working with old headstones. Many tell a story of days past and the people who lived then.