Healing Stuart

Discovering & Restoring Stuart Cemetery, Four Mile Township, Polk County, IA

Walking Stuart

Sometimes when we least expect it . . . “life happens” and our scheduled activities get shoved to the side for a while. I’ve found myself in this mode for about six weeks. Blogs and other priorities have had to wait, but I’ve learned that just as quickly “Normal” (or a reasonable facsimile thereof) returns.

 In other words, I’m back and ready to continue Healing Stuart. When last we met, I paused in my narrative to thank to mentors/encouragers. Back to our story . . .


 Shortly after the day I found a stone that had been pushed over and others totally hidden among clumps of daylily leaves (See: Heartbroken), I returned home to find an email from the IAGenWeb contact for Polk County. It was a reply to my email about a correction I needed to make for one of the photos I had uploaded to the site. In my reply I told her about my concern for Stuart Cemetery and my intention to “walk the cemetery” as there was no extant plat book.  

Walking a cemetery involves starting a specific point and documenting the information on each gravestone row by row, giving each stone a row and space number. Describing spaces between stones or rows is also important because it means further research may be necessary to discover if there are no graves in that location to begin with, the stones had been completely demolished or stolen at some point in the past, or if no stone was placed on the grave at the time of interment. (Stuart Cemetery has many such spaces).

 In response I received a wonderful email giving me pointers on walking a cemetery. She also described the type of documentation she would like to have on Iowa GenWeb for all Polk County, Iowa cemeteries. She included an Excel spreadsheet to aid me in documenting the results of walking Stuart.

 I started walking Stuart the next day armed with pen, paper and clipboard but I soon became discouraged due to the number of stones broken of at ground level. Was there some way to find out who had be buried in these graves?


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