Hardin Water Tower

Hardin-Central School

Christian Church

Notes from the President: October 2008

1993 Flood Memorial

Cemetery News Update

It has been 15 years since the 1993 Flood washed through the cemetery on July 12.  We held a program at the Farris Theatre that we titled "15 Year Remembrance Hardin Cemetery Flood" on Sunday afternoon July 13, 2008. I hope some of you reading these notes were able to attend the program.  I would like to relate some of the highlights of the program. 

The viewing of the video Buried Secrets of the Hardin Cemetery produced by the New Dominion Pictures was one reason that the meeting was held. This video was shown on the National Geographic channel, but most of us didn't get to see it.  Ed Wolfe was able to get a copy of the video and helped organizing and hosting the Sunday afternoon program. This video was very informative to all of us because it gave us some insight into the recovery process of the remains washed out of the cemetery. 

The other part of the program was testimonials from some of us.  Those providing information were Lulabelle Baker, Terri McWilliams, Darrell Carmichael, Kevin Carmichael, Sam Clemens, Bob Littleton, Don Blankenship, Greg Smith, Dawn Schumacher (Dean Snow's daughter), and myself. 

I hope that those of you that were in attendance got an idea of the job that everyone had in rebuilding the Hardin Cemetery.  I have posted a copy of the article that Brenda Jensen wrote in the 7/15/08 Richmond News in the 1993 Flood notes on our web page.  I will take a little space to relate some of the comments that stood out to me.  Darrell Carmichael told us about using a 12-foot stick and walking in water in front of the truck to check for spots that the road washed out along a ¼ mile stretch of Little Brick Road so they could get equipment to the cemetery.  Bob Littleton & Greg Smith gave accounts of their experiences of using boats recovering caskets.  Greg said that he will always remember the statement of a bystander he overheard, "I remember a lady standing next to me as she silently said, ‘First our homes, and now our loved ones.'"

I gave an accounting of work and time it took to rebuild the cemetery.  There were 1,576 known graves in the cemetery on July 10, 1993, and the flood washed out 793+ graves.  The water also knocked over 375 stones and washed away 100+ stones.  At the high point floodwater covered 90% of the cemetery.   A blue hole was cut in the center of the cemetery 90-100 feet deep.  645 remains were recovered of which 120 were identified.  The 525 unknowns were reburied side by side in the cemetery and a memorial service was held Dec. 5, 1993 to remember these love ones. 

It took 4 years to rebuild the cemetery completely, but we were able to repair it to a condition that allowed us to hold a redaction service on July 30, 1995.  It was the fall of 1997 before we were able to erect the two flood memorials and have the cemetery looking like a flood hadn't destroyed it.  Thanks go to the 251 of you that took your time to come and help us remember what we did on the 15-year anniversary of the 1993 Flood. 

As most of you would know, maintaining a cemetery is like keeping up your house. There is always something to do and a tight budget to do it with.  The cemetery board set up a cemetery improvement fund in 2006.  This will be a method for you to ear mark your gift to go toward improvement and repair.  The first project covered by the improvement fund is the work of repairing and resetting the old sandstone tombstones in the south section. We need to reset 300+ stones, which were damaged by the "93 Flood" in this section.  When we did this work after the flood, stones were temporarily set in the ground without new bases because we were working at rebuilding the cemetery as quickly as we could. Over the last 15 years the stones started leaning, so we decided to start this improvement project.  We are still working on this project.

As you might guess the expenses of mowing and repair keep going up. You can mail gifts to the Hardin Cemetery, 10081 Shirley Circle, Hardin, MO 64035. Take a look at the newsletter that is posted on this web page. It will explain in more detail the different ways you can make a donation to the cemetery.  

I want to thank all of you who have made donations to the cemetery over the years.  These donations helped us rebuild and improve the cemetery.