Damaged Cemetery Headstone—Sadly, in June, we discovered the headstone of William Thompson who died in 1856, broken into several pieces and flat on the ground. At this time we believe this was most likely the result of an accident, and not a deliberate act of vandalism, the fact remains that a beautiful piece of our cemetery’s history has been lost…a result of someone finding the need to reach over a fence and put their hands on an old and fragile headstone.

To some we may sound like a broken record, announcing at the beginning of all our tours, events, and activities, asking visitors to refrain from touching any of the monuments, not to lean on, sit on, or stand on any of the cemetery fixtures. The Cemetery Rules and Regulations posted at the entrance gate and in brochures, echo these same requests and words of caution. I guess people see these marble and granite stones and simply assume they are stable and strong. Many are loose and can topple or start walking off their bases with a simple touch of a hand. After all these years of working in the cemetery, I am still amazed at how some parents allow their children to climb on monuments and other cemetery items with no clue as to the dangers of serious injury or death that could result. Even more amazing is how often I have to remind adults to not touch or stand on curbing and other items. I guess it is an ongoing educational process that we must all be aware of.

The Cemetery Commission has now posted signs throughout the cemetery grounds telling visitors and locals alike, to admire and enjoy the cemetery ornamentation from a safe distance and not to come in contact with any of these items.

We would ask that if you happen to notice someone getting too close or touching any of the monuments, and if you are comfortable with approaching them, to remind them of this message. If you see anything or anyone suspicious within the cemetery grounds, please contact the Jacksonville Police Department. With a cemetery of this size and with so many visitors, we need all the help we can get. Thank you for the many emails and telephone calls of support following the June incident.


Tuesday Evening Cemetery Stroll, August 8—Join us for our final Cemetery Stroll of 2017, when our Stroll will focus on “Cemetery 101″—Cemetery Ornamentation, Monument Styles and the Monument Makers. Learn about the various styles of markers, who made them, where they were made, and the local stone quarries. Stroll begins at 6:30pm and will conclude by 8:00pm. No advance reservations are required and there is no charge. Those wishing to do so, may make a donation to support the work of our organization. Meet your docents at the top of the Cemetery Road where you will find parking available. Wear comfortable walking shoes and you might want to bring along some sunscreen and a hat. Thank you to Gail Nicholson, Dee Reynar and Ellen Martin for an interesting and fun tour through the City Section in June. Our twenty-five guests enjoyed learning some additional history of the early Pioneers who now reside in our cemetery.

History Saturday in the Cemetery, August 12—Our topic this month will be on “The Early Farmers and Ranchers in the Jacksonville area and the Rogue Valley.” Program begins at 10:00am and concludes at approximately 11:30am. No advance reservations are required and it is free. Donations are always appreciated and support our preservation and restoration work. Meet you Docents at the top of the Cemetery Road where you will find parking available. We suggest comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen and a hat. Our final History Saturday in the Cemetery program will be on September 9, and the subject will be the “History of Pack Trains.”

After our interesting and engaging June topic, “Travel by Stagecoach,” we are all happy to have our cars! Thank you to Joan Hess and Vivienne Grant for all their research and for presenting such a fun program. One of our guests from Yreka will be doing a similar program on “Stagecoaches, Drivers and their Routes” in Williamsburg, Virginia in January 2018.

Marker Cleaning Workshops, August 19—Join our volunteers for a fun and worthwhile project cleaning headstones and other monuments and for helping to preserve them for future generations to admire. We meet at 9:00am at the Sexton’s Tool House, located at the top of the Cemetery Road, where you may pick up your supplies and directions as to where we will be working. Dress for the project as you will get a little wet. You may want to bring along a stool to sit on. Our fifteen volunteers in June managed to clean an amazing 41 headstones, foot stones and monuments—an impressive number for sure.

Please visit our website for complete details on these and all our events and activities at friendsjvillecemetery.org.

Have a safe and wonderful summer!