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Volunteers finish two-year restoration of Augusta cemetery just in time for Memorial Day

Posted at 11:35 PM, May 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-01 11:44:30-04

AUGUSTA, Ky. — A special project has been completed just in time for Memorial Day – one that’s been more than two years in the making.

“That’s a Civil War veteran,” volunteer Allen Sellers said. “We found him over the hill. Set him up there.”

A group of seven volunteers – all of whom are over age 70 – started renovating the Augusta Hillside Cemetery in 2019 as a way to keep history alive.

Old gravestones at Augusta Cemetery

“Thousands of man-hours,” Sellers said. “Thousands of dollars donated to the job.”

When the volunteers first started, he said, the cemetery looked disgraceful.

“It was minimally maintained,” Seller said. “Obvious abuse. Clearly neglected for decades."

Headstones buried under vines – broken, damaged or thrown down the hill – more than 860 of them. And in the process, they uncovered several forgotten grave sites.

“We didn’t realize there were that many here,” he said. “They didn’t either.”

The Augusta Cemetery is the final resting place for 43 veterans. Half of them weren’t on the Bracken County Historical Society’s registry – which means they have never truly been honored for their service. That will change, thanks to the work of the volunteers.

Sky 9 shot of Augusta Cemetery

“Over the years, they’ve had no flags,” Sellers said. “We’re going to try to take care of all that.”

The big project was started with high expectations and very little funds – that’s where WCPO viewers came in.

“Got on the news. That’s when the money started coming in,” Sellers said. “Thanks to Channel 9.”

Augusta Cemetery

The group isn’t done yet – because of those donations, they’re going to work on a second Augusta cemetery.

“More than enough money to do some work on the Payne Cemetery,” Sellers said. “Several dead trees down there. Several tombstones broke.”

They’re also donating a new archway entrance for the Payne Cemetery.

“They won’t be forgotten as long as someone takes care of it,” he said.