Specialists repair headstones in Murphysboro cemetery - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Specialists repair headstones in Murphysboro cemetery

MURPHYSBORO, IL (KFVS) -

The Murphysboro City Cemetery is getting a much needed face lift.

Roughly 1,500 people are buried here and many headstones have been damaged over time due to weather, including about 100 that are needing repaired immediately.

The city has invested $6,000 to repair these broken, cracked and worn down headstones in the cemetery that identify veterans as far back as the American Revolution.

On Monday, a lot of those headstones started getting repaired.

John Heider is a Cemetery Conservation Specialist. He started repairing headstones on Sunday and was again here on Monday.

Heartland News caught up with Heider as he was repairing a headstone that had broken apart.

This is something the community and leaders of Murphysboro has long been waiting for.

"It's great to see people here in this city that want to take care of and respect those that came before them," said Heider.

Heider has been repairing cemeteries for 10 years now. He said he has seen a lot of headstones and cemeteries in other areas not taken care of.

"These people here that lay here, they need to be remembered. These are people that helped build this area and these towns that we live in today," said Heider. "A cemetery is like anything else. If it's not taken care of, it will fall apart and get deteriorate."

Heider showed Heartland News some headstones that have already been glued together in years past.

While Heider feels some of the glue didn't hold up over time, he knows that people didn't forget their loved ones here.

"I have seen three different kinds of glue used here. Some aren't holding up to the weathering, but it's good to see people have tried to keep these headstones repaired in respect for those that lay here," Heider said.

Mike Jones, curator for John A. Logan Museum came by to help Heider with restoring these headstones. Together, they filled in areas of dirt where headstones were laying on the ground and dug back up. Jones also helped Heider fill in cracked areas and seal broken pieces back together.

"Every one of these headstones, these people, there is a story. And sometimes I get to meet families of people buried here and hear those stories. And they are fascinating," said Heider.

"There were two graves I haven't seen here before," said Heider. "They are soldiers from the Revolutionary War and were brought here recently and laid flat on the ground. The family wanted me to put them upright so I did."

Jones also said these two headstones were placed in concrete. That's something that can't be easily fixed but they are still intact.

Jones said what's interesting about these two headstones here is that they are just the headstones and the soldiers bodies are still buried elsewhere. However, the soldiers are from this area and will still be honored and respected just like anyone else in the cemetery.

Jones and Heider feel it's going to take a while to repair all the headstones here.

Heider said he will probably repair about half of them in the next couple weeks before heading to another area. He said he will then come back and repair the rest.

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