Previous discussions about work at the Madisonville Cemetery has led the association to new avenues for finding unmarked graves.
Association members Clark Osborne, Dawn Knight, as well as members of associations of nearby cemeteries and city officials, were treated to a demonstration of ground penetrating radar on May 21, and the results were immediately impressive.
“We found 25 graves in the old part of the cemetery in about an hour,” Osborne said.
After sharing previous stories about work at the cemetery, Osborne said they were contacted by someone who said that Omega Mapping Services of Georgia had the equipment and expertise needed.
Osborne said he contacted Len Strozier, owner of the service, and found that Strozier would be in the Texas area, and would come to Madisonville and do a demonstration.
“They came to Madisonville May 20, and on that Monday, he arrived with his ground penetrating radar, and he walked around for about an hour and within that hour, he found 26 unmarked graves,” he said.
Strozier also went to the Osborne plots, and found that the markers were misplaced and there were empty spots.
“Most of the plots in the cemetery are groups of six or 12 spaces, and have a 3 foot border; he found a burial in the border of a plot in a no-man’s land,” Osborne said.
Osborne also said that aside from the obvious benefits, technology can lead to restoring the history of the cemetery and the people buried there.
While Strozier was doing his demonstration, other cemetery associations expressed interest in the service, and city officials expressed interest in searching for sewer and water lines.
“He was doing the demo to sell me a franchise, but I decided to go a different route; I will do my own thing,” Osborne said. “I’m trying to find an inexpensive source for markers; I know he didn’t cover 10 percent of the old cemetery.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to find we have another 200 unmarked burials out there,” he said.
Osborne said it’s just a matter of getting a GPR unit here.
“I’m probably going to buy one,” he said. “It’s amazing technology. There’s one in my near future.”