Nacogdoches historic cemetery gets cleaned after centuries of neglect

Nacogdoches historic cemetery gets cleaned after centuries of neglect
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - One of the oldest cemeteries in Nacogdoches got some much needed TLC.

One headstone at a time volunteers washed away years of untouched history at the Oak Grove Cemetery.

"Three hundred years of history, it's not just three hundred years ago," Perky Beisel, an SFA history associate professor said. "All of these people contributed to the development of Nacogdoches."

Established in 1837, the Oak Grove Cemetery is the final resting place for some of the Lone Star State's most prominent figures.

"We're not actually cleaning any of those because they are in good shape, they've gotten attention," Beisel said. "Their neighbors and their family members who took part in the revolution and who helped, that's who we're cleaning."

With water, soap and a lot of scrubbing volunteers removed the dirt and mold that has been accumulated over the past 100 years. Many of them enjoyed the experience.

"Some of these haven't been cleaned in over a century," Beisel said.

"Honestly it's really fun," Francis Montamat, a volunteer said. "I like getting my hands dirty and just going right in."

"I feel so good, I never thought of coming out and cleaning it," Zoha Zaki, a volunteer said.

"It makes me feel like I'm doing something for the world," Brittany Herring, a volunteer said.  

Many of the headstones went from black and grim colored to sparkling white.

"Whenever we poured the water and started scrubbing it was black, and once we poured the water again to make the dirt go away it looked white, or brand new," Zaki said.

Organizers said Friday's cleaning was only the beginning.

"This is probably a five year project and we probably need to raise several thousands of dollars for the conservative repair," Beisel said.

If you'd like to contribute to keeping this cemetery clean you can contact Friends of Historic Nacogdoches Inc.

The next cleanup is scheduled for May 6th.

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