Mattie P. Holmes, member of a small committee taking responsibility for the upkeep and maintenance of historic West Dublin Cemetery, has a lot to say about the cemetery and why it is so important to the area. Holmes, born in 1924, says she has known this cemetery her whole life.
“We didn’t have an entrance into the cemetery through the road. We had a gate and came down through an apple orchard in order to get to it, that was before the building of this plant,” said Homes of the Ethan Allan Factory at the current rear of the cemetery. “It was a complete apple orchard that we came through with all the bodies, bringing them into here. My great grandparents are buried here. My parents are buried here, I have three sisters buried here in my family of seven. I’m the last one living in my family, and I’m 89 years old.”
Holmes says that this cemetery is supported privately by families. Each family is donating money in order to keep it going. “That’s mostly what we’re doing, is (trying) to keep the graves up and keep the grass cut,” said Holmes. “It makes it a big issue since people aren’t being buried here as much now, so we do ask that families make a monthly donation to keep it going, which a lot of times is kept up by only a very few family members.” Holmes’ father, a World War I veteran, is buried in the cemetery, along with her husband, veteran of World War II.
At one time, according to Holmes, the committee members looked into getting help from the town of Dublin, but were not successful since the cemetery is located out of the town corporate limits. The county has no involvement in the upkeep or maintenance, either.
This past Saturday, a flag dedication ceremony took place at the cemetery with VFW Post 1184 Pulaski present to dedicate the flag to those past and present laid here to rest. VFW members performed a 21 gun salute and presented the brass (shells) from the ceremony to next of kin family members present.
The committee would welcome any business or individual help from the community to keep the cemetery maintained and cleaned. There are limited funds and a limited number of people to put in the work necessary to maintain the grounds. The group welcomes both monetary donations and volunteers to help labor in the historic cemetery.
Theodore Page, committee treasurer, says Lowes in Fairlawn is one business in particular that has made a donation, in the form of cement for the flagpole and lights which have been installed. Page explains that since they are a privately run cemetery, they survive solely on donations and continue to accept them.
In the past, the cemetery has been completely unkempt and overgrown. “There were bushes everywhere,” Joseph Holt, another member of this group, said of the cemetery’s condition. “People were riding motorcycles through here. Six or eight people from Boston College were with us over the summer three years ago to help us get it cleaned up.”
Holt says now there are about eight members taking care of it. “The few you see here are the ones who take care of it.” said Holt.
The members of the committee for West Dublin Cemetery are Theodore Page, treasurer; Lillian Hendricks, president; Tammy Baldwin, secretary; Missy Calfee, assistant secretary; Barbara Witcher, trustee; Joseph Holt, trustee; Elroy Eaves, trustee, and Mattie P. Holmes, trustee. If anyone would like to donate funds or services to the maintenance of West Dublin Cemetery, contact Lillian Hendricks, president at (540) 674-4448.