Old Methodist cemetery improvements finished

By Cathy Casper, Staff Writer, Claiborne County Progress, January 6, 1999 (Subscription information)
presby_1.jpgCan anyone tell 
me whether this is the old M.E. Church?
Joe Payne
William Clyde Baumgardner in his backyard. (My Uncle)
Undergoing a complete face lift, a new fence and a new sign now surrounds and marks the Methodist Cemetery located in Tazewell next to the 911 office.
The project, first undertaken by Eldo Stone, came as a result of an article in the Progress which told of the battered state of disrepair another cemetery in the county was suffering from. One of Stone's friends mentioned that the old Methodist Cemetery was also in need of repair and Stone decided to take the project on.
After spending days, cleaning, mowing and hauling trash, the elderly Stone had done as much as he could and went to Judge John McAfee for help.
McAfee sentenced four people to community service at the cemetery, helping to finish what Stone, because of his age and health, was not able to.
The task is now complete with the exception of the dirt being put down, and Stone is grateful that everything seemed to come together.
"The only reason the dirt is not down is because of all the rain and it may be spring before we get it finished," said Stone.
The dirt which is already at the site will help to fill the many holes so that the site in the future can be kept up with a riding mower.
Stone said he just started the ball rolling and many people are responsible for the renovation including Davis Greer, Mike Reece who helped to re-erect some of the monuments, Doug Harbin, James England, Stanley Massengill for donating the dirt, Wayne Lee, Judge John McAfee, Beezer Watson at Watson Fence and Seth Butner who was instrumental in getting the funds that were lacking to finish the project and the witnessing Committee at the Tazewell United Methodist Church who supplied those funds.
He also thanked all those who gave donations and the Claiborne Progress. "The picture in the paper helped to get donations, so many people in this town did not know that cemetery was there until they saw it in the paper," Stone said.
Also wanting to clarify a mistake he originally made. Stone said in the beginning he identified the cemetery as a Presbyterian Cemetery, but has since learned that it is the old Methodist Cemetery.
At this time everything is paid for and from here out, the only cost will be upkeep which Stone figures will run approximately $500 a year.
Seth Butner is looking into the future upkeep of the cemetery.
"There are plans underway to look into establishing a non profit fund for the maintenance of the cemetery," Butner said.
In the meantime Stone is ecstatic that the project went so well and believes he had the Lord's help in completing the project and said his next project may be looking into the history of another old cemetery in the area that is also badly in need of repair.

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