John McGinnis has to pass the old graveyard every time he drives into town, and he thinks it's time to take care of the site. McGinnis, a past mayor of Nevada, and his wife Linda have lived in the Nevada area for many years and have been active in the community for a long time. Out of respect, he just wants to see the site maintained a little better.
The cemetery is over grown with grass, although clippings provide a clue that someone mowed the whole site sometime in the past, and recently, someone has mowed a 40 or 50 foot swath through the center of the property. However, the grass is only of the problems in the cemetery.
In places it's hard to see the gravestones of some of the 69 souls interred at this old cemetery. There are only about three dozen markers visible. The headstone of Dorthy V. Dean, born Oct. 28, 1896; died Nov. 13, 1923 is so overgrown with a lilac bush that the branches must be pulled to the side in order to read the inscription on the stone.
The fences surrounding the area are down in places and grown up with blackberries, vines and other shrubbery. Sumac, elm, mulberry and pin oak trees are growing on parts of the cemetery. Many of the stones are broken, some have toppled over, others are worn slick or faded and canted to the side. Rodents have burrows throughout the area and there are large and small holes where the coyotes and foxes have been digging for them.
The cemetery needs a lot of work, but McGinnis said, "if you get enough people in here it wouldn't be overwhelming." McGinnis doesn't have any family buried in the cemetery, but said he noticed how a similar old cemetery was "nicely taken care of" while he was doing some genealogy research near Lowry City, Mo.
McGinnis is willing to spearhead a project to get the cemetery cleaned up. He thinks that once it is done it would be easy to keep it neat. He thinks it would make a great project for family members or a civic or youth group, but he said he would be open to anyone that is willing to help. He has offered the use of a trailer and has a place on his property to dispose of the brush.
"I'd sure like for it to look nice before Memorial Day," McGinnis said.
McGinnis, a retired social services worker who teaches a political science course at Crowder College, said he would like to see the cemetery stay neat and orderly and maybe his helping with the initial work would prompt a further effort by someone. " Hopefully, if we get it going, they'd keep it up." he said. McGinnis said anyone interested in helping can contact him on any day but Tuesday; that's when he teaches. For more information call McGinnis at (417) 448-7471.