Begin New Search
Refine Last Search
Cemetery Lookup
Add Burial Records
Help with Find A Grave

Top Contributors
Success Stories
Discussion Forums
Find A Grave Store

Log In
djtruitt (#47746502)
 member for 2 years, 4 months, 17 days
[Add to MyFriends]
Bio and Links
Bio Photo My husband, David, and I have done restoration work in Round Point Cemetery, near the town of Agency, in Wapello County, Iowa since 1997. We always use the cleaners and procedures recommended by the Association for Gravestone Studies. I also take pictures and document our work, and I will eventually put copies of the documentation on file with our local genealogy society and the Association for Gravestone Studies. In the years to come if the stones should fall into disrepair again, it is my hope that these pictures will let researchers see what their ancestors' stones looked like.

The original records for Round Point were destroyed in a fire many years ago. As we work, we compare the writing on the stones to the reading of the cemetery done by Miles and Helen Bacon in January of 1971. Miles and Helen did a very thorough reading and carefully documented any discrepancies they noted with the WPA readings done prior to 1940. Their documentation has been invaluable to us as we work. As we have cleaned the stones, we have noticed some differences in the carvings and the Bacon's notations. Some of the stones had been so coated with layer upon layer of lichen that letters and numbers had filled in and appeared differently than when the lichen was removed. I have also noted any discrepancies with my documentation.

I have also researched the history of some of the people whose stones we worked on, and I have corresponded with several families. I will post my pictures on any memorials that do not already have pictures on them, and if we worked on the stone, I will tell about our work in the caption - just click on the picture to read it. If anyone has any questions or wants any further information about the work that we did on a stone, please feel free to let me know.

When I started working on genealogy in the late 1970's, I discovered that many of my ancestors were buried in Round Point. Upon visiting the cemetery, the thrill of discovering their graves was quickly replaced by sorrow at the condition of their final resting place. The grave site of my 3rd great-grandparents William & Susannah Dimmitt and their family was particularly deplorable. All but two of the stones were on the ground and could be seen only by crawling around in a mass of overgrown trees, poison ivy, and brush. They were so dirty and discolored, the carving on them could barely be read.

The grave sites of my 3rd great-grandparents John & Nancy Bedell and 2nd great-grandparents, Caleb & Mary (Bedell) Miller, were also a sad sight. John's stone was broken out of its base and was lying on the ground. The top was broken off of Caleb's stone and both parts of the stone were lying on the ground, partially buried in the dirt and grass.

I was saddened by the situation, but I had no idea what to do. Twenty years went by. In the summer of 1997, Indian Hills Community College offered a short course on gravestone repair, taught by Beverly Bethune. We took the class and learned many basic steps for cleaning and repairing gravestones. Our text book was, "A Graveyard Preservation Primer," by Lynette Strangstad.

Heartened by our newly-learned knowledge, but leery of the job ahead, we tentatively started work on William and Susannah Dimmitt's grave site in July 1997. Shortly after our work began, we realized that while our class had taught us many of the basics, there were many things that we did not know how to do. Our textbook was a help; however, many times we just had to explore our options and use our best judgement. Sometimes we would discuss our options for repairing a stone for several weeks before we would proceed. On a few stones, we waited for two or three summers before making a final decision. These decisions are noted with each stone's documentation, and it is our sincere hope that our work proves durable over time.

We had originally intended to repair my family's stones only. However, as we worked that first summer, we found ourselves repairing the other stones in the area. After three summers of work we were finished with my family's stones and those who were buried close by. By that time, we were feeling more confident of our abilities and had found this was an endeavor we really enjoyed. We asked for and received permission from the Cemetery Trustees to continue working on the cemetery's gravestones. Through the years, we have also bought new gravestones for three people who had never had a stone and replaced two stones that were damaged beyond repair.

For anyone who comes to visit the graves of their ancestors, it is our hope that you will be pleased with the appearance of the stones. As we work, we treat each stone as if it was marking the grave of our own ancestor. I would enjoy hearing from anyone who has any additional facts concerning their ancestors that they would like to have me add to my documentation of the cemetery or this web-site.
Leave Public Message
Contributions to
Find A Grave
 • 1,656 Memorials Added
 • 1,834 Memorials Managed
 • 13 Memorials/week
 • 3,319 Photos
 • 10 Photo Requests
 • 157 Volunteer Photos Taken
 • 380 Virtual Flowers
 • 5 Virtual Cemeteries
 • 10 Friends
Search Contributor's Records

First NameLast Name

Virtual Cemeteries
Children of Nehemiah & El... (6)
My Neighbors While I Was ... (19)
My Parents (2)
OHS Class of 1969 (26)
Unusual Gravestones (6)
Find A Grave Friends
Bill Haseltine, Delores W. Roe, IRISH EYES ARE ..., John, llanggin, Richard K Thomp..., Sara Cross, Valerie Lawrenc..., Vern-O, Wee
Messages left for djtruitt (185)[Leave Message]
Edward Charles Pickler
I want to thank you for adding a photo to his memorial page. I am not close enough to the cemetery to visit it myself, so each photo adds to my understanding of how the markers look in situ. Thank you!
Added by amybutler72 on Jul 24, 2014 8:11 PM
Laura Hawkins
Warren Clark
Thank you soo much for your help and time with the Clarks. You are a treasure,
Added by Laura Hawkins on Jul 10, 2014 11:11 PM
My cd is not working and I am looking for a John O'Brien who died Nov 4, 1936 with burial at Calvary Cemetery. Can you please look this up for me? Thanks~~~~~~
Added by IRISH EYES ARE SMILING on Jul 08, 2014 10:23 AM
Arch Fisk photo
Hello...sorry I missed your previous message. Please send picture again and thanks again!
Added by Vern-O on Jul 04, 2014 5:50 AM
Charles McCartney
Mamie Lee - Shaul Cemetery
Thank you for the photo of Mamie Lee's headstone. I am glad that her grave is marked.
Added by Charles McCartney on Jun 16, 2014 5:20 AM
RE: George B. Hetherington
You are most welcome. Let me know if I can ever be of further assistance.
Added by Christina on Jun 15, 2014 7:53 PM
Thanks for all the updates have given me. Can you look up a obit for me?? My cds are not working right now. Looking for a Samuel William or William Samuel HUFFMAN who died in June of 1954. Thanks again for all your efforts. I do have his wife Ollie at Shaul a with a picture of her stone that I took a few years ago
Added by IRISH EYES ARE SMILING on Jun 08, 2014 12:00 PM
Diane Harris
RE: Forrest Maring
I'm glad you like the photo--it's one of my favorites too. It was taken in the early 30's. My Grandma is the banjo player. Best wishes, Diane
Added by Diane Harris on May 31, 2014 9:49 PM
Diane Harris
Forrest Maring
Hi Debbie, I found an obit for Forrest but it didn't list his parents but did list he was born in Ottumwa so it looks like it's him. I went ahead and linked the parents and also linked his first wife and daughter who are buried next to him (the obit verified it). Wish you the best, Diane
Added by Diane Harris on May 31, 2014 1:59 PM
Eva Chapman
Thanks so much for letting me know about my duplicate. Oops! The stones with more than one last name seem to be entered in a variety of ways. I've removed it. :-)
Added by D W on May 29, 2014 10:22 AM
[View all messages...]

Privacy Statement and Terms of Service