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Scout's project revives cemetery

June 01, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Seventeen-year-old Will Stuller didn't need to think too long or hard for an Eagle Scout project, because an idea was right at hand. His family's church, Harmony United Methodist in Marlowe, W.Va., was hoping to clean up its dilapidated former cemetery, so Stuller took on the task.

After more than a year of planning, Stuller and a work crew set out about six weeks ago to clear overgrown brush, cut down trees and dig up stumps at the Little Georgetown Cemetery, the site of about 75 graves. One enormous tree had fallen over about two years earlier.

They also recovered and repaired displaced headstones and footstones, some of which were partially buried in the ground.

Stuller's father, Bill, said some of the headstones were broken into pieces and had to be glued together. About 50 to 60 graves were repaired to some degree, the Stullers estimated.

The cemetery was used mainly from around the Civil War to the 1930s or 1940s, according to Will Stuller. The church now uses a cemetery off Nestle Quarry Road.

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Will asked around, but no one knew of a cemetery map showing who was buried where. He and his helpers did the best they could to put scattered markers in their proper places.

The headstones of James Eversole's family, for example, are back where they belong.

Eversole died in 1902 at age 62. To one side of his grave is the marker for his wife, Nancy, who died in 1873 at age 33.

Their two children, George, 3, and Charlotte, 6, both of whom also died in 1873, are buried nearby.

On the other side of James' stone is a marker for Mary Eversole, apparently his second wife. She died in 1888 at 32.

Bill Stuller said the Eversoles' stones were in disarray. Mary's was in the back of the cemetery; Charlotte's was in the front. James' base was intact, but the four heavy pieces above it were broken apart.

Some of the stones in the cemetery are old and smooth and the names and numbers are difficult to read, but it appears that the earliest date of death was 1817.

On Mother's Day, Will and his parents, who live in Falling Waters, W.Va., walked through the cemetery together, admiring the many spots where tranquility and order were restored, vandalism undone. About 25 people combined to put in over 200 hours of work.

The Rev. Ray Roberson is expected to consecrate the restored burial ground.

Will Stuller describes himself as someone who hates to sit home and do nothing. If there's no place he needs to be, he'll while away his time with colleagues at Williamsport Ambulance Service's building.

Will became a licensed emergency medical technician when he was 16. He said he wants to go to college to be a paramedic, and may stay in or around West Virginia afterwards.

But wanderlust may take him overseas. Stuller said he is considering spending time in England, where he's heard that harried paramedics and medics respond to calls on motorcycles.

"We think we're busy, but there, by noon, they're up to a couple hundred calls," Will said.

His career also might run through the United States Air Force. Will is a lieutenant colonel in the Junior ROTC program at Hedgesville High School, where he is finishing his junior year, and he plays trumpet in the marching and jazz bands.

"I'd like to get a paramedic (degree) at college and I like this area, but I have this adventurous thing," Will said. "I hope to go to school on Air Force ROTC, then go into the Air Force as a commissioned officer. I would like to study medicine."

"He's definitely self-motivated," said his mother, Becky. "He's been in Scouting since he was 6. He's always wanted to be an Eagle Scout."

Will is finishing up his last two badges: cycling and personal management, which requires the Scout to set up a financial budget for himself.

Once he submits a journal of his project along with paperwork, a court of honor will be set up and he will become an Eagle Scout.

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