Cemetery Relocation

Cemetery relocation still opposed

Descendants say they'll hire a lawyer if plan stands

11 January 2001

By David Blackburn

BEAVER DAM -- From talking to county officials to hiring an attorney, relatives of those buried in Rogers Cemetery want to keep the 60-grave site from being relocated from an area slated for a five-county industrial park.

Regardless, "It's going to be challenged," said descendant Martha Thompson of Beaver Dam, referring to the Ohio Fiscal Court's resolution to declare the three-tenths-acre site abandoned.

The fiscal court's resolution, which became final Dec. 21, allows the Green River Regional Industrial Development Authority to relocate the graves at the authority's expense.

William Peters, 71, left, watches as his sister, Ruth Utley, 67, looks over a fallen grave marker Wednesday at Rogers Cemetery in Ohio County. Utley said she and Peters are descendants of almost everyone buried there either "by marriage or by blood." The cemetery is in a 1,160-acre area being developed as a five-county industrial park by the Green River Regional Industrial Development Authority. Photos by Robert Bruck, M-I

The authority is developing 1,160 acres just south of the intersection of the Natcher and Western Kentucky parkways into the Bluegrass Crossings Business Centre, which will serve Ohio, Muhlenberg, Daviess, Hancock and McLean counties.

Thompson's sister, Ruth Utley of Hartford, and their brother, William Peters of Pleasant Ridge, said they plan to attend today's fiscal court meeting to see if the magistrates will change their minds. The meeting begins at 4:30 p.m. in the Ohio Circuit Courtroom on the third floor of the Ohio County Community Center.

"If we can't get them to rescind their votes, then there's going to be something done," Thompson said. "The first process would have to be to hire a lawyer."

The headstone of Asa W. Davidson marks the grave of one of several Civil War soldiers believed to be buried at the cemetery.

Ruth Utley said the descendants plan to meet to discuss a course of action once the weather allows safe traveling.

"We're hoping that the fiscal court will clear the decision up for us," Peters said.

"I'm hoping they can work something out that will be acceptable to both parties," said Utley's husband, Reginald.

But Lonnie Hawes, magistrate of District 2, which includes the site of the industrial park, doesn't expect the issue to come up -- or to change.

Although some work has been done at the cemetery over the years, the site and the access road leading to it have not been well-maintained, and neither is on most maps, Hawes said. If maintenance had been done, he said he would have opposed the relocation.

Jobs are needed in Ohio County, Hawes added, and he's not going to change his mind about the relocation if it costs the county jobs.

In his discussions about the issue with several descendants, Hawes said he has pointed out a recent show of support by the Beaver Dam City Council. The council voted Monday to go on record supporting the fiscal court's resolution.

Hawes said the county will make sure the relocation is done properly.

"We're not going out there . . . and let them scrape off a little dirt and say, 'That's it.' It's going to be done right or it's not going to be done."

Hawes said he is not unsympathetic to the descendants.

"I understand their problem. I feel sorry for the people," he said, adding that he would prefer to have his relatives buried somewhere with easy access.

"But we cannot stop progress out there."

From:  Messenger-Inquirer


trav.gif (1735 bytes) Copyright 1999-2001 by Travler Designs
...a web page creation and consulting firm.
All rights reserved. ~ Revised January 11, 2001