Independence Cemetery, Independence, TX
I have been working at the cemetery on-and-off for about two years, doing private, family-funded conservation work, such as the Bryan stones and the Clark/Shannon/Pickett plot below. In late April 2017, the Independence Preservation Trust decided to partially fund work on about 50 stones, which will be completed in early 2018. Photos of stones completed are also posted to Find-A-Grave with a notation/caption under the photo. As of December 1, 2018, additional funding was located and another 90 stones will be conserved in 2019.
Bryan Family Stones
Late in 2016 after an untrained person used bathroom caulking to try and 'glue' the stone back together and reset it.
I would rather have had the stone in the first photo to deal with, as "repairs" such as this often deposit silicones in the stone and they can be very costly and difficult to remove. Luckily, this one did not.
Wm. Joel Bryan headstone
The bottom portion was mortared into the base on May 5, 2017 and the mortar was allowed to cure for a month. On June 8, 2017, I epoxied the top portion on; the stone was cleaned with D/2 on June 22 when this photo was taken. Despite its dark color, as the biological growth dies and is flushed from the stone, the color will lighten. Infill with NHL and marble dust will be done in cooler weather to cover the break and missing portions.
The Clark/Shannon/Pickett Plot
Stones Conserved as Part of the Independence Preservation Trust Funding
Conservation is also ongoing at the Atkinson Cemetery, just west of Chappell Hill, TX. This cemetery contains many of the early inhabitants of the area and those associated with Chappell Hill Male and Female Institute (1852-1912), and Soule University (1856-1888).
Contracted conservation is also scheduled to begin at the Smithwick Cemetery, east of Marble Falls, TX in 2019.
There is a great deal of information on the Internet regarding gravestones, gravestone repair, and the like. While some of the information is truly horrible, there are reliable sites that will steer you in the right direction if you have questions or need more information. The ones below are a good starting point; I will add more as I locate sites that have accurate, proven and truthful information, or that carry good quality tools for cemetery groups.
Texas Historical Commission--Cemetery Preservation
National Center for Preservation Technology and Training https://www.ncptt.nps.gov
Chicora Foundation cemetery conservation/preservation www.chicora.org
Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) www.gravestonestudies.org
American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) www.conservation-us.org
Gravestone Conservation (Jon Appell) www.gravestoneconservation.com
Gravestone Preservation (Jon Appell) www.gravestonepreservation.info
This site is a "must read" for your own knowledge or if you are considering hiring
a conservator for gravestone work.
D/2 Biological Solution www.d2bio.com
U S gov't report on cleaning solutions NCPTT/VA
LimeWorks.us (Ecologic mortar and info) http://www.limeworks.us/home.php
T & T Tools (Smart Stick probes) www.mightyprobe.com
Save Austin's Cemeteries www.sachome.org
See how Austin's Cemeteries are being helped with an active group.
As of April 3, 2019, I am making some headway on my work and am back at cemeteries as the weather permits. Please understand that if I contract with you, the work may not begin until early fall, however. If you would like work done, please contact me.
Thoughts for Spring
Should a tree or shrub that is next to a headstone be allowed to remain there? If the tree is very large and old, it may have been planted around the time of the internment; cedar trees are commonly seen in this situation. In that case, probably so. If the tree/shrub is younger and was a volunteer, and if it is displacing the stone, then “no”. I have moved several stones over the years that were leaning because the roots of large magnolia trees (both more than 90 inches in circumference) had displaced them. If the tree was an 8” ash, elm or hackberry, I would suggest the stone be secured/moved and the tree removed. In the photo above, the oak tree has displaced the stone and is not in a healthy state; I would remove it.
If you have a question, send me an email and photos and I can advise you.
If you'd like more information, contact me at
(979) 836-7715, firstname.lastname@example.org
or browse my website.