Cemetery Restoration Project Continues in Crisfield - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Cemetery Restoration Project Continues in Crisfield

Posted: Apr 11, 2018 6:27 PM Updated:

CRISFIELD, Md.- An overgrown cemetery in the heart of Somerset County, Maryland is finally coming back to life. The Union Asbury Cemetery in Crisfield, dating back to the 1800s, is undergoing a major restoration project.

Joe Paden, the man behind the project, is transforming the burial grounds where nearly 500 bodies are laid to rest.

The first phase of the restoration project happened back in March. Roughly 60 volunteers came out to help clear trees, cut back brush, and find graves.

Paden has over a decade's worth of experience restoring cemeteries. With that expertise, he divided up groups of people to tackle the project. It took them roughly 6 hours to clear the area.

"This is probably only two thirds of the cemetery, so there's another third that needs to be uncovered," Paden said.

Clearing that other third out is what will happen this Saturday, April 14th. More volunteers are welcomed to come out and join the restoration project.

Leslie Phipps is one of the volunteers who came out last month. She drives down from Salisbury, Maryland to help Paden.

"Everybody just worked together and they got cutting and switched places and then we started uncovering the graves," Phipps explained.

The first grave she found belonged to baby Eva.

"There was a small grave, no last name, no date. I don't think anybody will ever know who she is or what happened to her," Phipps said.

But the hard work isn't the only gratifying thing about the volunteer efforts.

"People made new friends and everyone was smiling the entire time. It's really special when you start seeing people get together like that," Paden said.

Another volunteer is Paden's son, Alex. Alex has been helping his dad restore cemeteries for the past three years.

"It's said, most of these graves, they don't even have any headstones. So there's not many ways you can tell who they are," Alex Paden said.

Joe Paden encourages anyone who is thinking of volunteering or donating to visit Chesapeake Story Tours Facebook Page. There they can contact Paden and find out more details.

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