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Volunteers needed to help ready for new remains at old Vt. cemetery

Published: Oct. 8, 2021 at 11:07 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2021 at 11:21 AM EDT
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WEYBRIDGE, Vt. (WCAX) - Remains from an old cemetery in the town of Weybridge are getting a new final resting place. But first, prep must be done at their new home.

Down a path in the woods in the town of Weybridge, the Old Weybridge Hill Cemetery shows its age.

“Most of these stones are from the early 1800s. They are in great shape,” said Tom Giffin, the president of the Vermont Old Cemetery Association.

Giffin has been around a few cemeteries, 17 this year alone for projects, and in walking the property with him, he sees potential.

“Everything you see here that’s down will be up,” he said.

But VOCA isn’t only in the business of straightening stones. They have plans to give the cemetery new life, with stone cleanings, brush clearing and even stone fixing.

“We should preserve it and we should make it look nice and we will,” Giffin said.

The idea is that in just a couple of days, the stones will once again be upright, totally clean and as fresh as the day they arrived. But this is also the beginning of the end of another project.

“This one is a little different,” Giffin said. “I have never had a cemetery that is eroding down a bank to this extreme.”

That was back in 1998 down the road at the Stow Cemetery in Weybridge. Giffin was called in to look at erosion taking remains with it.

Since then, multiple groups have been called on, including the UVM archeological group to remove the remains.

Their final resting place? This Old Weybridge Hill Cemetery after it has been given a makeover.

“We’ll have a very somber and wonderful ceremony and reinter those souls in this cemetery,” Giffin said. “We’ll keep everything with the monuments and burials and everything, and I expect it will be a wonderful thing.”

It’s certainly not Giffin’s first cemetery and it won’t be his last, though it is the last for the year. But after over 20 years in the making, this one definitely is special.

“It’s preserving part of Vermont’s history. It’s preserving part of the nation’s history and certainly Weybridge’s history,” Giffin said.

Click here to find out how you can volunteer to help.

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