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Cleanup effort launched at cemetery

An unearthed grave at the historic Kelley Cemetery in Hamilton Township has sparked a community cleanup effort.

Thursday, April 26, 2001

An unearthed grave at the historic Kelley Cemetery in Hamilton Township has sparked a community cleanup effort.

And, that effort could prompt financial help from an incoming industry.

"What really got us started was the graverobber, who dug a grave up that’s been there 200 years," said Bob Blankenship, Hamilton trustee.

Debbie Rogers, a Hanging Rock native and avid history buff, said someone, or a group of someones, dug into an unknown grave – not even a famous one like Luke Kelley’s – less than a month ago.

"It’s a shame that people would do such a thing," she said, adding that there’s likely nothing of value, other than historical value, in the old graves. "Who would do such a thing?"

The travesty started a lot of people thinking about cleaning up the historic site, said Mrs. Rogers, who will head up the effort.

Trustees cannot use funds at private cemeteries, so several people have come forward as volunteers, Blankenship said.

"We want people to see the before and after," he said.

It’s the first family of Lawrence County, who settled in Hamilton Township, and it’s nice to get the community behind it, Mrs. Rogers said.

In addition, Calpine Inc., which plans to build a natural gas fired power plant on the old Goldcamp Farm, is interested in helping.

Company officials have offered to fence the area after the cleanup.

After the grave was robbed, the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department checked the cemetery area. Now, area residents are watching, too, Mrs. Rogers said.

The volunteer cleanup is scheduled for May 5.