Carter of Commerce Township was first drawn to learning about headstone restoration when he traveled to Maine about three years ago. While there, he visited a cemetery where many of his ancestors were buried. He noticed that many of the headstones in the cemetery were in poor condition.
He told a local historian there that he wanted to clean the stones. “How are you going to do that?” the historian asked. Carter's education began when the historian told him to use water only and to avoid using chemicals on the fragile stones.
Carter decided to make that a new passion and career in his life.
“I always loved history,” Carter said. “I've always loved genealogy. That trip to Maine got me going when I saw how bad of shape the cemetery was in. That spurred my interest.”
Headstone restorations revive city, family histories Observer & Eccentric (LIVONIA, MI)
Written by: Ken Abramczyk Correspondent
Carter traveled to Indiana to learn headstone restoration, formed Carters Cemetery Preservation and began work that would lead him to Livonia to restore the headstones at Newburgh Cemetery. Read complete article.
The dirty headstone had fallen over and broken into pieces. Details of the Pinckney woman’s life wouldn’t be uncovered if it weren’t for the work of local volunteers –– and soon, paid contractors.
At 28, Florinda Nash died in 1855. Born in New York, she was the wife of Marquis Nash, a farmer who later remarried.
The headstone is one of up to 10 burials contractors from Carter’s Cemetery Preservation, who were hired by the Village Cemetery Board with the approval of Pinckney Village Council, are expected to restore beginning Saturday.
Restorations will come at a hefty $3,000 estimated price, but cemetery board chairwoman Linda Van Blaircum said it’s necessary.
“I think it’s important to realize where we came from,” said the self-proclaimed genealogy junkie who has studied up on the cemetery’s inhabitants. “Sometimes, you don’t appreciate your past family until they’re gone and you can’t ask them questions.”
Van Blaircum hopes the preservation process will allow for better reading of the stones from the 1800s, as some are covered in lichen, making for an impossible indication of identity. Once names are uncovered, she hopes to perform genealogical research and perhaps share the information in the Pinckney Community Public Library’s designated historic room.
The repairs are being paid for out of the perpetual care fund established in 2009. The fund receives 20 percent of all sales of graves and columbarium niches in the cemetery since its establishment, according to Village Clerk Amy Salowitz.
Dave Carter, owner of the contracted preservation company, said costs could increase or decrease for the village, depending on the conditions of the stones as work begins.
“Sometimes you don’t know what you’re getting into before you do it,” said the Commerce Township- based businessman.
Salowitz said the village hopes to begin an adopt-a-grave program for those interested in the upkeep of a friend or relative’s resting place.
“It would be wonderful if a family came in and offered to pay the entire cost of their great-great-great- whoever’s headstone to preserve their family’s history, but we will accept all donations, big and small, for future repairs,” she said.
The village also is hopeful that the preservation will help in its application for the cemetery’s state historic status. Should it be granted, the village could be eligible for more grants to allow for the restoration a few headstones each year, according to Van Blaircum.
Headstones get new attention - Pinckney's cemetery efforts may include adopt-a-grave program
On the morning of June 8th, the City of Monroe permitted the Genealogical Society of Monroe County (GSMC) and the Monroe County Historical Commission (MCHC) to perform a cleanup of Memorial Place. Though the site today is usually affiliated with the Kentucky Monument placed there in the early years of the twentieth century, it is also the final resting place of dozens of Monroe County residents, most interred in the 1830s. The main goals of the project were to remove sod growing over the headstones; document the headstones; and create public research materials to be housed at the MCHC Archives. In only two and a half hours volunteers uncovered and collected data on over fifty of the nearly eighty grave sites known to be in Memorial Place!
For additional information about the project and to view more photographs, visit the Genealogical Society of Monroe County’s website. Also, you might want to click your way over to see the headstones on Find A Grave. Thanks to GSMC for sponsoring Dave Carter, Bank of America for allowing us to use their building as a staging area, and the City of Monroe for permitting us to conduct the project and supplying the site with water for cleaning the headstones and containers for collecting the sod. Of course, many, many thanks to the GSMC and MCHC volunteers for generously contributing their time and talents to the project.
More than 100 show up to restore Goodrich Cemetery
by LORI PHILLIPS Observer Special Writer
David Carter, from Carter's Cemetery Preservation in Commerce Township, removes old epoxy and creates a smooth surface for re-attachment at the Goodrich Cemetery. Below top, Rick Muir and Frank Boom of the Roth-Muir Funeral Home and Bob Stankiewicz and his son Nick help guide a hefty headstone back into place at the Goodrich Cemetery.
Dave Carter of Carter's Cemetery Preservation in Commerce Township will now provide professional repair work for the 20 or so historic pre-1900s headstones and tablets that could not be repaired by the volunteers.
Carter said he will clean, repair and reset the gravestones, removing the lichen that has built up on the stones over time and by doing so attempt to bring out the names and inscriptions on the stones that have faded over time. Read full article
“We try to get as close to the original as possible,” Carter said. “It’s like putting a puzzle back together. We finish with a grout, and we try to match the color of the original. Some of these stones are 150 years old, so it’s sometimes a little difficult to match the color exactly, but the resulting work should make the stones as close to the original as possible.
“This is something I enjoy doing. It’s very rewarding, especially to repair the historic stones, the veteran’s stones,” he added.
Volunteers ban together to repair vandalized Goodrich Cemetery in Bruce Township
With the help of heavy equipment, this granite orb was returned to its base.
Historical cemetery in Flat Rock restored after teen damages it
FLAT ROCK, Mich. (WXYZ) - Propping up repaired headstones and smoothing over the cracks, crews have made it look like there was never any damage done to a historical cemetery in Flat Rock. In May, a young teen damaged all of the headstones. “Kids coming through. They think that’s a fun thing to do I guess,” said David Carter, owner of Carter Cemetery Restoration.
But no one else in Flat Rock was laughing when a 13 year old boy damaged the historical cemetery. It is a place that serves as a final resting place for the family of revolutionary war vet, Michael Vreeland. His son was a veteran of the war of 1812. The boy faces charges now. Lila Fedokovitz of the Flat Rock Historical Society told 7 Action News the culprit used martial arts to damage the headstones. “Karate kick is my understanding,” said Fedokovitz.
“We put it on Facebook and within two hours we knew who had done it.” It is alleged the vandal did the damage, of all times, over Memorial Day weekend. “I think that is what hurt everybody more than anything. That it would happen in that time period,” said Fedokovitz.”
In August, the historical society came together to raise thousands of dollars to restore this cemetery to the way it once was. “We held a benefit dinner last month to raise the funds to get Dave Carter back. He did the original restoration five years ago,” said Fedokovitz. “We love to come out. It’s rewarding,” said Carter. “Especially the founding fathers, our veterans. Just to get them back up. Make them more respectable again.”
The restoration was completed on Sunday. Organizers are hoping everyone will respect this historical cemetery and never damage it again.