Thursday, May 15, 2008

Historic Prescott cemetery getting new protection from vandals

[Source: Joanna Dodder Nellans, Daily Courier] -- A group of volunteers took their first step recently to ensure the safety of a piece of Prescott's history. Fourteen years after its creation, the Yavapai Cemetery Association has raised enough money to start putting up sections of fence to protect the historic Citizens Cemetery along Sheldon Street better from vandalism. Records show 2,750 people were buried here between 1864 and 1939 when it filled up, and many more remain unlisted.

For the first 40 years, no map of the cemetery existed, association president Pat Atchison said. A call for information went out, but, by then, much of the personal information was lost to time. The map shows hundreds of graves as "unknown." Until the Cemetery Association came along 14 years ago, the county-owned cemetery was in disrepair, Atchison said. When volunteers cleared out bushes and weeds, it became less vulnerable to vandalism. But by then, only 845 of the burials still had some sort of headstone. "It just seems a shame, because once that's gone, it's just one less thing about that person that's still on the face of the earth," Atchison said. "And it's the history of Prescott."

To contribute to the fence fund, donors may send checks to the Yavapai Cemetery Association, 201 S. Pleasant St., Prescott, AZ 86303. [Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jo. L. Keener, Daily Courier.]