Old Miller Cemetery managing board updating burial records

Published 12:00 am Monday, May 24, 2021

Seeking donations vital for cemetery care

ROME TOWNSHIP — Throughout the past few weeks, community members have noticed a flurry of activity at the “Old Miller Cemetery,” located in Miller, a small Ohio River community in northeastern Rome Township.

As Memorial Day approaches, caretakers there and around the Tri-State area are investing extra hours to beautify cemetery grounds and prepare for the thousands of family members who will arrive in the coming days to decorate the graves of loved ones.

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Local communities like Miller are replete with large and small cemeteries where generational visitors carry on the tradition of placing flowers and other gifts at grave markers to honor and commemorate the dead.

The Old Miller Cemetery is adjacent to the better-known Miller Memorial Gardens, a larger, more-recent site, but the older cemetery is the final resting place of community members and several military men and women from past decades.

Unlike the more contemporary, expansive burial grounds, most of these smaller, older cemeteries existed long before carefully-measured and recorded gravesites and prior to the concept of long-term perpetual care. Consequently, to update burial records annually, cemetery managers often rely on family members of those interred to provide historically accurate information and depend upon community and individual donations to defray the costs of annual maintenance and care.

Jason Chapman, a local resident currently serving as board of trustee president of the non-profit board that manages Old Miller Cemetery, readily admits that caring for a cemetery and updating burial records is not an easy task.

“It costs about $1,000 a month to mow and to provide annual care to the cemetery,” he said. “The various sections are divided by gravel roads, and they really need gravel this year, so we can keep a good base to access the sections. It will cost about $3,700 to add that new stone. It is important for this community to know that the cemetery is being taken care of, but we need their support to keep everything in order.”

According to Chapman, the board took action recently to remove several damaged and dying trees along one side of the cemetery.

“When it becomes apparent that trees or other issues are creating a hazard or are unsightly, we have to give some attention to the problem,” he said.

Fortunately, a local tree trimming business stepped up to help, noted Chapman.

“We would like to thank Zack Layman of Layman’s Pro Cuts for donating five tree removals,” said Chapman.

According to Chapman, updating cemetery records is an ongoing process.

“In so many instances knowledge of family deaths is lost over time, or the information we have is incomplete,” he said. “We are trying to update our records of where everyone is located. The board is asking family members who have lots in the old section or have loved ones buried there to please contact us.”

Anyone interested in helping may contact Jason Chapman, president of Old Miller Cemetery Board of Trustees at 304-634-4622 or by emailing Oldmiller cemeteryohio@gmail.com.

Volunteers will staff a tent at the Old Miller Cemetery on the following dates to accept updated information and to receive donations: 4 p.m.-7 p.m. on May 27, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., on May 28 and 29, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on May 30 and 8 a.m.-2 p.m. on Memorial Day, May 31.

Additional information about the organization can be found on Facebook at Old Miller Cemetery Miller Ohio
Old Miller Cemetery is located at 1025 Tinker Lane, Miller.