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Freeman Cemetery fence restored

Freeman Cemetery fence restored

Posted: Thursday, August 6, 2009 4:18 pm

Freeman Cemetery fence restored | Freeman Cemetery, Marilyn Hammonds, Ann Meek

FREEMAN CEMETERY FENCE — A wrought iron fence (above) has always defined Freeman Cemetery. But the years took its toll on the fence and it needed refurbishing or replacing. It was decided to refurbish the old fence because of sentimental value. Marily
For more than hundred years, the wrought iron fence defined Freeman Cemetery. The fence was first carved out of surrounding fields and woods in 1854 when Peyton Hendrix donated a small parcel of land on Bethany Church Road for a burial ground. The fence had been there as far back as anyone could remember, but no records for its purchase could be found.
Still, the years had taken a toll. Many sections were bent, some slightly, some terribly. A few spear points were missing. The finish was dull and rusty, and the gateposts were unstable.
In 2008, the Freeman Cemetery Association faced a decision: preserve the fence or replace it. Replacement would cost less, but association members placed great sentimental value on the antique fence. Fortunately, a recent fund-raising effort provided sufficient funds for restoration. Before the May 2008 meeting, Anne Meek and Marilyn Hammonds contacted members not likely to attend the meeting to include their preferences in discussion. All supported preserving the fence, but identified a few cautions to be brought before members at the meeting.
At the meeting, Glenn Johnson of Apex Iron Works in Greenfield presented his proposal for preserving the fence. Earlier, Johnson found the seal of manufacture from Stewart Iron Works still in place on the gate. The Stewart Iron Works online catalog showed the fence design as the “bow and picket” pattern. After much discussion the association members voted unanimously to preserve the fence. Association members measured sections of the fence and took “before” photographs to follow the progress of Johnson’s work.
Over the next year, Johnson removed the fence, section by section, to his workshop for the refurbishment processes. When the association met in April 2009, Johnson reported on the progress of the project, and members visited Freeman Cemetery to view the re-installed sections of the fence. They were pleased with the work. Within a few weeks, Johnson had completely refurbished and re-installation all the sections.
The “before” and “after” photographs show the preservation of the antique fence at this small, but much loved, site so representative of Weakley County and West Tennessee history.
For more information, contact Anne Meek at (757) 857-3801 or Marilyn Hammonds at (423) 245-6449. If you would like to donate, please make your check to Freeman Cemetery Association, and mail to Joe Donald Trevathan, Treasurer, Freeman Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 772, Martin, TN 37837.wcp 8-4

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