A very kind person contacted the Vining family group on Facebook. For some years, she and her husband had cleaned up and decorated the graves of an unknown couple of Vinings. Before that, her parents had cared for the graves. She shared some photos that she took.
I answered, “Thank you so much for taking the photos of Nancy and Henry Vining’s graves. It means a lot to the McGhee/Vining/Martin family to know about our ancestor’s graves. We only have a few photos of Nancy, but none of Henry. We didn’t even know where their graves were.”
She told us that there were a lot of Babcocks in Harrison Cemetery. She commented, “I think the Civil War flag holder on Henry’s grave is very special. Not sure I have seen another one like it.”
Then she brought up a concern
Diana Osburn McPhail – Those two stones are very small and, quite frankly, that little country cemetery is not maintained well. Jack and I take tools there every year and reclaim the two stones and a few others from weeds, Bermuda grass, and even a large vine that in spite of brush killer will not die. If it were not for us, the stones would have disappeared years ago. We are in our early 70’s so someday we will be on the other side of the grass ourselves. Your family might want to consider pooling money and putting an upright headstone, maybe even with dates on it, to mark the graves. Just a suggestion.
I am pretty sure that within a couple of years the stones will disappear under grass when we are no longer around. Actually, when we arrived at the cemetery last week there was a large dead cedar tree limb laying over the stones. I had taken loppers with me so I cut off enough small branches so I could get to the stones, clean them, and add the flowers so I could take nice photos for all of you.
Virginia Allain – Whew, hadn’t thought about that issue. I’ll discuss it with my sisters and cousins. Thanks!
Also in the Harrison Cemetery is Diana’s great-grandparents. She showed me photos of their grave. Yep, her great-grandmother was Sarah Elizabeth Babcock, so guess we are very, very distant cousins.
Now, we have to figure out how and who can fix the graves. My sisters, Karen and Cindy, and I are willing to chip in some money but I’m 1,500 miles away. Another person shared that they placed some large paving stones under their gravestone to raise it up above the grass.
Location of the Harrison Cemetery:
From Highway 169 in Thayer, Kansas go West on Watermelon Road (north end of town). Travel 5 miles to Wichita Road. The Cemetery and Chapel are on the Northeast Corner of the intersection. It is located in rural Wilson County, Kansas, not quite halfway between Thayer (Neosho County) and Altoona (Wilson County). The directions are from Find-A-Grave.
Before and After the Clean-Up in 2017
The photos below show how badly the grass and dirt get over the graves. Then the after-clean-up photos are next to the before photos.