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Meeting to discuss cemetery's future

CROWN POINT A historic cemetery in Crown Point needs attention. The Forestdale Cemetery Association will meet Sunday, April 15, at 3 p.m. at the Hammond Chapel to discuss the future of the burial ground. We are hoping local people will attend, and assist us to establish our goals, said Ridge Hammond of St. Luis Obispo, Calif. We are just very hopeful for a good attendance. This cemetery belongs to the whole town and loved ones from many families are buried there. Hammond is the great-great-grandson of Col. John Hammond (later brevetted brigadier general after the Civil War). He has family members buried in Forestdale Cemetery. Business matters will include the budget, capital spending improvements that are desperately needed, the cemeterys future vis-a-vie local peoples involvement, and the regular, required maintenance that is needed for upkeep, Hammond said. Robin Murdock, the chairman of the cemetery trustees, will lead the meeting. A similar meeting last October failed to generate much support for the cemetery. That meeting attracted just two people Hammond, who made the trip from California, and Murdock. Forestdale Cemetery needs work, Hammond noted. Past storms washed out a bank and left a pile of rocks at the base of the cemetery. Obvious landscaping, ditching and removal of debris needs to be done. The constant battle with brush and trees taking over remain an arduous task and the caretaker of many years, Murdock, can no longer keep up. Murdocks father, Russell Murdock, was caretaker of the cemetery for over 25 years. The Hammonds, prominent citizens of Crown Point in the late 1800s and settlers of Hammondville, built the Hammond Chapel, now used by the Congregational Church. They also built the bank and general store at the four way intersection of 9N, which is now an antique shop in Crown Point. The Hammonds had deeded the tract of land now known as the Forestdale Cemetery to the town of Crown Point with conditions that the circle be dedicated to the Hammond family members. We are hoping to interest folks there to get involved in whatever capacity they can, said Hammond. My heart has always been back east and Im looking forward to my return in April.

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