A little over three years ago, I began a project to purchase a stone to mark the graves of 18 people who were placed in unmarked graves when the Vandalia Mausoleum was torn down in 1975. I am happy to report that the stone is now in place and will be dedicated at 10 a.m. this Thursday.
The stone is located at the end of the walkway that led to the mausoleum in South Hill Cemetery. On the front of the stone is an etched image of the mausoleum. On the back are the names of the 18 people who were originally entombed there, but since October 1975 have lain in unmarked graves in a row along the front of where the mausoleum stood.
I want to thank the many friends and family who supported me in this project, including those who generously donated to the fund to purchase the stone. Part of the cost was also covered with a grant from the Old Capitol Foundation, for which I am very grateful.
Thank you also to Mayor Gottman and the city council who gave me the “go-ahead” when I began the project; to Old Capitol Monument Works for designing the beautiful stone; to the Fayette County Genealogical and Historical Society and Linda Hanabarger; and to the previous and current sextons at South Hill Cemetery, David Wodtka and Sam Kerr.
Eighty-seven people were originally entombed in the mausoleum. When vandalism and other deterioration caused enough damage that it could not be restored, it was scheduled to be demolished. All but eighteen of those were claimed by family members and reburied elsewhere.
Those 18 are: Nathan S. and Nancy Jarrett Buchanan, James S. and Martha Reynolds Buchanan, Franklin D. and Flora Smith Huston, Mathias and Catherine Wolff LeDoux, Hugh and Leah Powell Sefton, John and Rosa Hossman Wiss, Robert W. Meseke, Josephine Wiss Weberg, James S. Cleoufis, Edwin Y. McKenzie, Marie Hemker Starnes and Martha Hamilton Mahon Smohl.
Please join me at 10 o’clock on Thursday morning to remember these people and dedicate the stone to finally mark their resting places.
Betsy Brannon Mills