Sunday, October 14, 2007

Restoration of Randolph County Cemetery Continues

The Randolph County Historical Society continues to make progress in its restoration of the Old Winchester Graveyard (originally known as Heaston Cemetery), which is located on Western Avenue in Winchester, Indiana. This pioneer cemetery was established in 1844 and was an active site for burials until the 1890’s.

When the restoration project was first started in 2004, only 7 tombstones were left standing out of the 200+ people known to be buried there (including several veterans of the War of 1812 and the Civil War). Thanks to extensive work by cemetery restoration experts, 80 tombstones have been discovered buried underground thus far, with more expected to be found.

It is an expensive process to reset, restore and/or replace the grave markers—over $9,000 has been spent on the project thus far, and there are also plans to ensure the continued care and maintenance of the graveyard after the restoration project is completed.

The Randolph County Historical Society received a cemetery preservation grant from the Indiana Genealogical Society in 2006 to help with the project, and has also developed an “Adopt A Pioneer” fundraising program, where for $150 (the cost of restoring one tombstone) donors can adopt one of the pioneers buried there and get assistance in finding out about their lives.

Donations are tax-deductible. Checks should be made payable to Randolph County Historical Society and mailed to: Old Winchester Graveyard Restoration Fund, Randolph County Historical Society, 416 S. Meridian St., Winchester IN 47394.

For more information, please contact Sharon Smith, the co-chair of the restoration committee—phone (765) 584-7663 or e-mail

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