2018-04-12 / Front Page

Volunteers Sought to Clean Historic Graves

By James Merolla


Coggeshall Burying Ground (top) and Braman Cemetery to be cleaned up as part of Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Day, April 14. Coggeshall Burying Ground (top) and Braman Cemetery to be cleaned up as part of Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Day, April 14. The Newport Preservation Society and its volunteers will live up to their name on Saturday, April 14 when they clean up gravestones in Newport.

Leigh Schoberth, of the Preservation Society, said the 10 a.m. event to clean up Coggeshall Burying Ground on Coggeshall Avenue near Victoria Avenue is the “kick-off” to their volunteer season.

“Historic cemeteries play an important role in telling Newport’s history, and the Preservation Society is proud to be partnering with The Historic Cemetery Advisory Commission (HCAC) on preserving them,” said Schoberth.

Working with the HCAC, both groups are inviting the public to participate in Rhode Island Historic Cemetery Day in Newport.

Volunteers will clean vines and plant material from gravestones and walls at Coggeshall.

Located next to the Breakers stable, the walled and gated site is the final resting place of members of the extended Coggeshall family, which includes Abraham Redwood, founder of The Redwood Library.

“We’re looking forward to this cleanup at the Coggeshall cemetery and to future opportunities to collaborate with the commission to make sure these valuable resources are not lost,” Schoberth said.

The society says this is a great way to explore one of the city’s hidden treasures. Volunteers should bring garden gloves and pruners.

Schoberth said the society has been supportive of the efforts of the Cemetery Commission to maintain both the Coggeshall and Arnold grave sites. This year, the organization applied for a major grant to restore gravestones in God’s Little Acre, the African American section of historic graves at the Common Burying Ground.

In a related story, military and other volunteers are invited to participate in Armed Forces Day Cleanup at Braman Cemetery on Farewell Street, on May 19 at 10 a.m. The group has identified an area of 67 military stones to be cleaned. Anyone interested may contact npthistoriccemeteries@gmail.com. The city will provide all the needed equipment and instruction.

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