Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884
Ringgold County Courthouse built in 1884

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 Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 30, 2017
Pages 1 & 9

Website allows unique insight on county history

Ringgold County history buff can find a wealth of information on a web site devoted to Ringgold County cemeteries.

The Iowa Gravestone Photo Project web site not only lists the names of each cemetery located in the county but also contained photos and vital statistics of many of the gravestones located in each.

For example, the cemetery with the most photos is Clearfield with 2, 251. Rose Hill in Mount Ayr has 2,512 photos. The cemeteries with the fewest pictures are Dead Man's Cut south of Diagonal and Woodland Cemetery with only two.

(Not all graves are listed - just the ones for which photographs have been submitted to the web page. However, the site provides detailed instructions for anyone wishing to submit additional gravestone photos.)

The national "Gravestone Photo Project" (GPP) got its start in Iowa and spread across the nation.

It began in 2003 as a modest single county gravestone photo archive and has since grown to include millions of searchable gravestone photos in 39 states.

According to information provided on the web site of the Iowa Gravestone Photo Project, "The project fist began when Rich Lowe, an IAGenWeb Project county coordinator, [Page 9] wanted to store his Van Buren County Iowa GenWeb cemetery photos in a searchable database.

"Since there was no known existing software that allowed Rich to have the functionality needed, he contacted his son Jeff Lowe (a website programmer) to see what kind of effort would be needed to create a tool that would not only store the images but also be designed with an easy-to-use upload interface that site visitors could use to contribute gravestone photos of their ancestors.

"It soon became evident that the tool was capable of storing tens of thousands of records rather than the hundreds of records originally planned -- and that with further modification it could be useful to other county coordinators statewide with its combined database being available for individual county or statewide searches."

IowaGravestones.org first went online in January 2003. Arizona was the first state to adopt the Iowa-based software in September 2003, followed by Colorado in April 2004.

The South Central Iowa Community Foundation (SCICF) recently made available over $23,000 to help renovate the county's 49 cemeteries.

Present at the grant awards were (L-R) Kevin Creveling and Clint Spurrier, SCIC board members; Bob Sickels, Rose Hill Cemetery; Ron Brown, Clearfield Cemetery; Claire Newton, Knowlton Cemetery; Larry Teply, Bohemian Cemetery; Nan Derscheid, Union Township Cemetery; Rick Wiley, Bethel Cemetery; Charles Abarr, Fairview Cemetery; Kathy Kilgore, Quinn Cemetery; Linda Swanson, Oliver-Monroe Cemetery; Kay Hove, Benton Cemetery and Barb Stephens, SCICF.

County's cemeteries to get SCICF help

Anyone interested in Ringgold County historical preservation understands the dilemmas of the 49 cemeteries located throughout Ringgold County.

Lack of signage, dilapidated fencing, damaged headstones, fallen monuments, inadequate funding and, deteriorating road access are only a few of the necessary repairs needed to preserve the county cemeteries.

The South Central Community Foundation (SCICF) chose to help support cemetery improvements by making available $23,200 for competitive grants for the cemeteries.

The Foundation is pleased to announce all ten of the cemetery boards that applied were awarded requested amounts up to and including $2500. The grants were required to include matching direct and indirect dollars. These one-time projects are to be completed by October 31, 2017.

Ringgold County SCICF provides responsible stewardship of foundation funding for worthwhile community purposes. SCICF has been in existence for 24 years and provides an avenue for interested donors to carry out their charitable intent within Ringgold County. Interested in establishing an endowment to benefit the people of our community? Discuss your lasting legacy with SCICF staff by calling 641-217-9105 or stop by the office located at 108 North Grand, Chariton, IA. Ask for Diane. SCICF is an affiliate of Iowa Community Foundation.

Photographs courtesy of Mount Ayr Record-News
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, September of 2017

IaGenWeb Gravestone Photograph Project

To submit your photographs to the Iowa GenWeb Gravestone Photo Project, click on link directly
above, or go to Iowa GenWeb Photo Projectís submission page

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