UPDATE 03/20/2011 10:00pm
For a history buff, The Mid-Ohio Valley is one of the best places to live. A few local historians are working to see that the cemeteries here in Wood County survive the test of time so generations to come can enjoy the history in their own back yards.
The Bear Cemetery, located in Volcano, has head stones of both Union and Confederate soldiers. However, like many cemeteries in the area, the grounds have fallen to disrepair.
"The cemetery is like so many in Wood County, it's been basically abandoned, which was part of the problem that occurred here," says Bob Enoch, President of the Wood County Historical Preservation Society. "We had a local timber man take a bulldozer through the cemetery."
The bulldozer damaged three headstones: a civil war stone, a foot stone and an ornate stone. Enoch says he is upset by what has become of the cemetery and other historians agree.
"We've got busted Civil War tombstones, which is a big concern of ours," says Jim Miracle, with the Wood County Historical Landmark Society. "Those people fought to save this nation on either side. We need to put them back up and honor their commitment to the cause."
While some may say that there are bigger and better things to worry about, Enoch says these cemeteries house some of our first citizens, without whom we wouldn't be able to have worries at all.
"It's just the sheer respect that we owe these people. They shouldn't be forgotten," Enoch says. "Many of the people here, I think there are 4 or 5 civil war stones, they fought for the Union, one of them was Confederate. The others are the early settlers who come in here to this country and made it what it is today."
We will continue to track the progress at Bear Cemetery and will bring you an update as soon as preservation efforts are complete.
An initiative is underway in Wood County and the goal is to preserve the rich history of many of the county's cemetery sites. Led by the Wood County Historical Society, the Cemetery Project aims to take cemeteries that have fallen into disrepair and revamp them into outdoor museums.
Wood County Historical Society President Bob Enoch says the Cemetery Project is both needed and urgent. He believes many of the sites are in danger of being completely lost without volunteers to aid in cemetery recovery.
"We've tried to classify these hundred that are in the condition of being lost if something isn't done," Enoch says.
The cemetery sites that the Wood County Historical Society is looking to rehabilitate are small areas that Enoch says could be cleared in a matter of hours.
In a three part special report, Erin Pulsanti will follow volunteers and members of the Wood County Historical Society to show the process of revamping the Davis Cemetery.
But the Cemetery Project will not work without volunteers to aid in the effort. If you would like to get involved in the Cemetery Project contact the Wood County Historical Society. The address and phone number is listed below.
PARKERSBURG,W V 26102