WEST LAFAYETTE -- Members of the Friends of Waggoner Cemetery had its yearly memorial service May 21.
Even though each annual memorial service has personal meaning for the members and guests, this year marked a special event as it was 200 years ago that the first person, Phillip Waggoner was laid to rest in the cemetery. Though Waggoner's sandstone marker is slowly weathering away, the members are doing all they can to at least preserve his memory, as well as the history of the cemetery.
This year was also a hallmark year for the members as they also dedicated the cemetery's very own specially designed flag. According to board member Michelle Carpenter, the flag was specifically designed in lighter colors that would display better in overcast days or late evening. Carpenter said the option to have illumination for the flagpole is not feasible to due the location of the cemetery from local electric power sources.
Another special project for this year was the placement of artificial flowers at each and every grave in the cemetery. The flowers being donated by Ed and Susan Chapdelaine, owners of Brother's Hardware in West Lafayette.
"This being a very special year, we wanted the graves to really stand out," Carpenter said.
Mark Fletcher, a resident of Dallas, Texas, was in attendance last Saturday, as he said he has been for many of the past memorial services.
Fletcher's mother, Elinor (Waggoner) Fletcher was a direct descendent of the original Waggoner family. Fletcher recalls spending summers with his maternal grandparents and coming to the cemetery to place flowers and pay respects to family members that had passed on before.
"Not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to celebrate a heritage such as this," he said.
The area southwest of the cemetery was once known as Waggoner's Corners, with the Waggoner family residing in a stately home overlooking the area from the hillside nearby. He said there was also an area located near the railroad that was known as Waggoner's Picnic Ground.
Today, the area of Waggoner's Corners and Picnic Ground are long gone, but the memories and stories live on through the Friends of Waggoner Cemetery.
This year's service also marked the 19th year for the organization of the Friends of Waggoner Cemetery.
Deacon Andy Duda provided the service's opening and closing prayers, while guest speaker was Troy Balderson, State Representative 94th District. Balderson spoke of the origination of Memorial Day in 1863, what was then known as Decoration Day. The concept being born after the women of the town of Columbus, Miss., noted the graves of Civil War soldiers needed maintained, and decorated to show respect for their honor and duty.
A moment of silence was later observed, followed by the naming of the nine veterans who are buried in Waggoner Cemetery. The Coshocton County Honor Guard provided a gun salute and taps for the service.
A business luncheon took place at River Greens Banquet Room following the service.