Smithfield Township
Jefferson County, Ohio

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A major organized effort with the community and local government officials began the project of cleaning and restoration to begin in spring of 2008.

The Jefferson County Chapter, OGS organized and began a cemetery cleanup and restoration project at the Northern Cemetery in Smithfield Township. We have come to believe that there are over 5,000 burials in this cemetery. The photo's below are an example of some of the different types of work that is done during these cleanups. We gather everyone together and ask who would like to work on which crew.

  • We have a restoration crew that consists of those that are interested/knowledgeable in leveling tombstones, resetting fallen tombstones, and repairing tombstones using ALL archival materials.
  • The second crew are those that would like to probe for sunken/buried tombstones and dug and mark areas where tombstones/pieces are found.
  • A third crew will read tombstone inscriptions and record them.
  • A fourth crew will cut down large trees and brush and cleanup up or chip the wood.

The beautiful mausoleum was painted. . We hope to get an estimate for repairs to broken marble tombstone face plates, and check into inscription enhancement. We will move to the lower portion of the cemetery,cutting large trees and bush. We will begin clearing the rear fence line/perimeter of the cemetery. Continuation of resetting the tombstones throughout the cemetery, and repairing tombstones will be ongoing until completed, which will take months and maybe years. There are MANY tombstones on the ground.

Many tombstone inscriptions were recorded during the three days we were working, with the help of several groups of volunteers and community service workers. Our MANY thanks go out to our volunteers who donated the most valuable gift possible - THEIR TIME! They came, not thinking they possessed any skills to help but left with knowledge about: how to read a tombstone inscription and record it. They learned about the materials used for tombstones. They saw first hand, up close the damage received to tombstones over the years.

Flora L. VerStraten, Chapter President, would like to personally thank the following people and organizations for helping to date in the Northern Cemetery:

  • Jefferson County Sheriff's department and Sergeant Argentine (inmates). They certainly provided the much needed labor for the cleanup.
  • Mayor Pat Freeland - for providing restroom, village trucks, and other necessities
  • All the local courts/judges - for assigning our project to Community Service Workers, who repaid what they owed by working in the cemetery.
  • The Northern Cemetery Board - Paul Green and Tony Phillipi, board members
  • Our devoted Chapter Members - and including: Tammy and Terry Hosenfeld for the many "behind the scene" hours they put at not only the Northern Cemetery but various cemeteries throughout the county and never complaining, always willing to lend a hand.
  • ALL VOLUNTEERS from the Smithfield Community - They are too many to name here BUT you can see them in the various photo's (page down). The volunteers worked hard and provided: chain saws (fuel for the saws), heavy equipment, rakes, shovels, trucks, and much more! Many provided the needed patience to read and transcribe countless tombstones throughout the cemetery.
  • All those chapter members - Many live TOO far away to physically help, but were so generous to send monetary donations. They are listed on the "Thank you" section of the homepage.
  • The General Public - and many that are interested in preserving/saving our pioneer cemeteries. Many thanks to you who have sent monetary donations that have ancestor's buried in the cemetery or just want to contribute to the cleanup/restoration. Money is needed for these large organized projects and without it, we wouldn't be able to do what we do! THANK YOU!!!!

Please click on thumbnails below to view larger photos!