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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Boothby Funeral Home, City of Cherokee support Directory Project for Oak Hill

Monday, March 12, 2012

Richard Boothby of Boothby Funeral Home of Cherokee is pictured showing where the proposed Oak Hill Cemetery Directory will be built. Boothby is proud to be apart of the efforts to raise funds for the Oak Hill Cemetery Directory Project. Photo by Mike Leckband
The project to erect a Directory at Oak Hill Cemetery received strong endorsements last week from the City of Cherokee and Boothby Funeral Home.

The City of Cherokee owns and maintains Oak Hill Cemetery.

Located west of the City along County Highway #38 (West Main Street), the cemetery is a 32-acre tract that is available to all citizens of Cherokee and surrounding areas. More than 8,000 gravesites are located at the cemetery. The unused portion of the cemetery should serve the families of Cherokee for the next 40 to 50 years.

The City has one full-time and three seasonal employees who maintain the grounds, prepare burial sites and coordinate with the local mortuaries. Cemetery records, however, are maintained by the City Clerk's office at City Hall, 416 W. Main St. Access to these records is limited to normal business hours Monday through Friday.

Frequently, visitors to the cemetery arrive on weekends or during evening hours when access to the cemetery directory is not available. Accordingly, the City welcomed a proposal from the Pilot Rock Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) to sponsor a project to construct a permanent directory and map of those buried at the cemetery. A directory at the entry to the cemetery will dramatically improve access to records and information of past family and friends buried at Oak Hill.

When approached about the Directory in 2008, the City committed to preparing the building site and pouring the 26'X26' concrete slab, on which the building will be attached. Donations and grants are being sought to pay for the project.

The building will consist of an open-sided 24'X24' structure, within which will be a directory map and large panels listing the names and locations of all those buried at the cemetery. It is hoped that the fund drive will be successfully completed yet this summer.

Richard Boothby had this to say in giving his endorsement to the project :

"The Boothby family has been in the funeral business since 1927 when my grandfather, T. D. Boothby started working for his brother-in-law John Wallace. My grandfather was actively in the business involved until his death in 1965.

My father Tom Boothby entered business with his father after World War II and is now retired. I have been involved in our family business for 42 years, having served three and sometimes four generations of families. Our business continues with my brother David and 4th generation Michael Boothby.

The main Cemetery in the Cherokee area is the city owned Oak Hill Cemetery. I have assisted hundreds of families in purchasing cemetery lots since the early 1970s.

I am proud of this cemetery and it is truly fitting to erect a building and directory to help families and friends of families to easily locate individuals buried in this cemetery.

Over the years, I have countless number of people stop in my business in an attempt to locate graves in the cemetery. Genealogy has become an important part of many people's lives; trying to locate sometimes lost generations of their family. I have drawn many a simple map for people to use to guide them to their families or friends graves.

With the addition of this project, spurred by the Pilot Rock Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, this will make the locating process much easier than in past years.

I have maintained my own set of records so it has been easy for me to help families when city hall is not open or the cemetery personnel are not working.

I stop and look at the history of this cemetery. Cherokee was founded in the 1850's and that was over 160 years ago. There are probably some families that have 6 generations of their family buried in this cemetery.

When the cemetery was first founded, they sold cemetery lots for $100.00 or less.

Each of these lots was enough room for 12 burials because families stayed in the area and each family wanted enough room for the next generations and sometimes infants that died from early diseases that we now vaccinate for their protection.

Today, most people purchase cemetery lots for husband and wife and sometimes unmarried children. Times have definitely changed.

I am proud of our cemetery and our family firm has buried many people who were instrumental in building our community.

Some of these people include the Phipps family - early pioneers settling in this area, Senator Guy Gillette - who hailed from Cherokee, Dr. P. B. Cleaves- one of Cherokee's earlier doctors, Burroughs family - banker, Miller family - attorney, Dale Goldie - fire chief and theater owner, the Stiles family- early pioneers, James Dunn- banker and car dealer, the Hawley Allison family- clothing store owner, the Caswell family - inventor of the Caswell loader for tractors, Lewis family - hotel owners, Wayman family - contractor, Steele family - banking, the Sanford family - Sanford Museum, the Herrick family - attorney and active hospital supporters, Chet & Ellen Holden - owners of Holden Monument Co. I have all the Holden Monuments records dating back to the early 1900's.

Holden erected thousands of marker and monuments in many cemeteries, especially Oak Hill Cemetery, Dr. L. A. Wescott- early doctor (Wescott Park and V.F.W. named after him).

I could go on and on with other names of families buried in the cemetery; but in reality everyone buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in important to someone.

I hope the families of our community and friends of families will support and donate to this project. I was actively involved in the fundraising and the building of the Cherokee County Veterans Memorial, so I know our community can raise the needed funds to make this project a venture that we all can be proud to visit and say I helped build it."

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