Rededication service to be held at historic cemeteryBy Emily Beckett Published 4:33pm Friday, November 1, 2013
An old cemetery local residents have worked to restore over the past 18 months will be rededicated Sunday, Nov 3.
Descendants, friends and neighbors of those buried in the Old Rasberry Family Cemetery in Chilton County’s Mulberry-Isabella community are invited to attend a rededication service in the cemetery at 2 p.m.
After the service, Trevor Cofer, one of the primary volunteers behind the cemetery restoration project, will receive his Eagle Scout badge in an Eagle Court of Honor ceremony.
Cofer, 17 of Isabella, chose the cemetery as his community service project for becoming an Eagle Scout.
Cofer and his family live minutes away from the cemetery, and a few years ago, he helped a man named Benny Harris and his mother find the cemetery.
“I’m kind of a student of genealogy, and I learned there was a place called the Old Rasberry Family Cemetery,” Harris said. “I had ancestors buried in that cemetery.”
Harris said as he and Cofer talked, Cofer mentioned he was working on becoming an Eagle Scout and had to come up with a community service project to complete.
“I told him I’m an Eagle Scout also,” Harris said, and by the end of their visit, Cofer had decided to take on restoring the cemetery as his service project.
Harris said the last time the cemetery was cleaned up was in 1981.
“The cemetery was basically abandoned, and it really grew up into a jungle,” Harris said. “For the past 18 months, we’ve worked to clean this cemetery up. It’s taken a long time to get there.”
After deciding to make the cemetery restoration his Eagle Scout project, Cofer contacted the landowner for permission to re-define the perimeter of the cemetery, remove debris and undergrowth, and clean and repair salvageable grave markers.
Harris said officials with the Alabama Historical Commission and Alabama Cemetery Preservation Alliance would present certificates at the rededication service, followed by Cofer’s presentation of a brief history of the cemetery.
A minister will pray a prayer of rededication over the cemetery, and dignitaries in attendance will be recognized.
A descendant of a person named Mitchelene Foshee Shaddix, who is buried in the cemetery, will speak about the relationships of the people buried there.
The cemetery contains at least 30 discernable grave markers. Some graves date back to the early 1800s and the Civil War period.
According to Harris, one person who is buried in the cemetery was born in 1774.
Harris said he has a set of great-great-great-great-grandparents and a set of great-great-great-great-great-grandparents buried in the cemetery.
“It’s a very historic cemetery,” Harris said. “I really get into genealogy and family history, and my mother’s family goes back in Chilton County and Autauga County, back to when Alabama was just a territory. It means a lot to me and my family.”
Those who attend Sunday’s service are advised to bring folding chairs and insect repellent.
Although Harris said the weather is expected to by sunny and clear, the ceremonies would be held indoors at Mount Carmel No. 1 Baptist Church, 6326 County Road 5 in Thorsby, in case of inclement weather.
“Typically, Eagle Scout service projects don’t take 18 months to complete,” Harris noted. “The amount of time Trevor spent on this would be enough for three or four Eagle Scouts’ community service projects. Trevor has done an outstanding job. This was a huge undertaking.”
The Old Raspberry Family Cemetery is located just north of Isabella High School on County Road 223.
To get to the cemetery from IHS, go north on County Road 29 one-half mile, then straight on County Road 223 (turns to dirt) for another mile.
From Clanton, take Highway 22 west toward Maplesville. Turn right (north) on County Road 15 near the signs for Isabella High School and Mulberry Baptist Church. At the four-way intersection at IHS, turn right (east) on County Road 29. When County Road 29 forks, go left (northeast) on County Road 223 (a dirt road). Turn left onto Eagle Scout Drive.