Last week, a special dedication ceremony was held at Cherokee's Oak Hill Cemetery for the new Oak Hill Cemetery Directory.
The dedication began with speaker Peggy Corrington who gave a brief history of the project, along with the other cemetery directory projects that have already been accomplished within Cherokee County.
The next speaker at the dedication was Tim Greenwood, who spoke on the value the directory will have for the future cemetery visitors.
Micki Conley thanked the many volunteers and donors of the project, in which she called "Little Chapel on the Hill." Among Conley's acknowledgements were: Florence Frisbie Estate, Pilot Rock DAR, RJ Thomas Family, Denny Holton and Pilot Rock Signs, Lindsay Bressler and the County of Cherokee, Duane Mummert and the City of Cherokee. Eddie Matthews and Marcus Lumber, Gerard Kohn and C & K Construction, along with Richard and David Boothby for donating two block granite benches, and the help of Richard and Donna Waterbury.
As Conley stated in her speech, "Many hands make light work."
The next speaker was Cherokee City Administrator Don Eikmeier who modestly told the crowd that all he did in regards to the project was to just stay out of the way of the Committee. He also commended the Committee for all their hard work.
Other speakers during the dedication ceremony included Duane Mummert, Orville and Lila Saxby, Richard Boothby, and Margaret Woltman.
In 2001, Pilot Rock Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) received a monetary bequest from the estate of Florence Frisbie, who had been a member of Pilot Rock from 1978 until her death in 2000. After much thought and discussion, Chapter members decided in 2006 that a directory/locator board for Cherokee County cemeteries would be a worthwhile project. It is the belief of Pilot Rock DAR that Florence Frisbie, DAR benefactor, would see this project as a fitting memorial; one benefiting our communities, families, friends and visitors by providing an easier way to locate where individuals are buried.
Surveys, information sheets and diagrams were sent out to all clerks of township trustees, church and city caretakers in 2006 regarding the cemetery directory project. Mike Rose of Valley Glass made a sample directory. This first directory board was installed in Afton Township by the Afton Auxiliary and family volunteers in 2007.
Following that was Liberty Township in 2008, Quimby Grand View in 2009, Washta Sunset View in 2010, Aurelia Pleasant Hill also in 2010, and Larrabee Cedar Cemetery in 2011. Directory boards have been constructed, but not yet erected, for Cherokee's Memory Gardens, and Emmanuel Lutheran in Afton Township.
Beginning in 2006, numerous people were contacted for discussion and ideas concerning Oak Hill. Support of a verbal and financial nature was indicated. These suggestions led to a shelter building design and cost estimates done in July 20011 by Eddie Matthews, a draftsman at Marcus Lumber. Also in July of 2011, a second meeting with Eikmeier and Mayor Mark Murphy verified that the city would pour the concrete base for the shelter.
The City of Cherokee is the caretaker and responsible for Oak Hill Cemetery. Currently there is no auxiliary group for the cemetery.
On Aug. 9 of 2011 a meeting was held at city hall for the newly formed Oak Hill Cemetery Directory Committee. The dozen members include Micki Conley, Peggy Corrington, Nancy Parrott, Don Eikmeier, Mayor Mark Murphy, Duane Mummert, Tim Greenwood, Richard Boothby, Margaret Woltman, Richard Waterbury, Lila Saxby and Orville Saxby.
In September 2011, Pilot Rock DAR committed to a donation of $3,000 for the Oak Hill Directory and got the ball rolling.
In January, committee members worked on a project description, timeline, project need, community impact and budget for a grant application.
The Cherokee Ag Show on Feb. 7, 2012 was the information and fundraising kick-off. Cherokee State Bank sponsored the Oak Hill booth and Denny Holton and Caitlin Thomas of Pilot Rock Signs had a 4' x 8' example of the signage to be used for the directory located in the booth.
Over 100 brochures were taken by the show-goers for consideration. Approximately $2,300 was donated that day.
Over the summer, the Committee work tirelessly to campaign for the project and many donors stepped up to the plate and made the project a reality.
Construction began during August with a 28 x 28 foot concrete base poured by members of the Cherokee City Parks Department as part of the City's donation to the project. By October, the structure was completed and hopes to stand for many generations to come.