Manny Cemetery & Basswood Cemetery,

Stephenson County, IL

Here is a  Fantastic ~~~ success story sent to me from Robin, who is on the Board of  McConnell Historical Society.  Robin helped with this project along with lots of others.  You can click on the newspaper articles to read them and also to view the photos from the papers they will open in their own window for your convenience.  Thanks so much Robin and many thanks to all who helped you in this project. 

Boy Scout Troop #91

Should be Young Men Scout Troop for the job they accomplished. Our hats are off to you young gentlemen. 



 email me your success stories.

Hope to fill up the web with them from all over the state of Illinois.

these are not showing up. They are newspaper clippings from Robin. Click on them and the original paper picture will show up. Same as for ones below.

Lena---It's a pretty good bet Jeff Liles, 14, Lina, and about 10 other boy scouts in Troop 91 will remember Jeff's major project in pursuit of the scouts' Eagle Rank, the highest award a boy scout can achieve.

Jeff, his friends, parents, grandparents and several members of the Manny Cemetery board combined efforts to refurbish the old cemetery on Manny Road between McConnell and Lena. And what started out as a project to repair about 30 head stones turned into a mammoth task covering nearly two and a half days and 103 stones, some of which were buried in the ground.

Jeff's project came about after his older brother Jason completed a similar project in another cemetery for his Eagle Rank several years ago. Jeff's twin brother Jordan is also working toward the Eagle Rank. Their father, James, said the two will probably achieve the rank in about six weeks.

"We were only supposed to fix about thirty stones," Jeff explained. "Dwayne Robeson and Ray Kleckler of the Manny Cemetery Board and Robin Pardus of the McConnell Historical Society made arrangements with me for the project," he said.

With $150 provided for materials, Jeff, along with scouts Jake Bollman, Bill Gerbode, Rob Gerbode, Chris Hay, Blake Krogull, Jason Liles, Kyle Reif, T. J. Reif, Matt Todd, and three scout leaders went to work. James and Joan Liles, as well as Jeff's grandparents Doris and Henry Heaton of Brooks, Iowa, also assisted.

The Heaton's have been active in their Iowa communities restoring old cemeteries and were naturals to help their grandson with his project, James Liles said. The Heaton's' son, Brad, also chipped in.

"We did our 30 stones but saw there was a lot more to " Jeff said. So the group set about locating lost stones by poking around with shovels and spades. Some of the head stones were found beneath the ground. "We think with all the farm land around here that the soil has blown in over the years and covered them up," said Jeff. Other stones had been damaged by age or vandals but were put back in place with muscle and epoxy. Some of the stones were heavy enough to require a 10 ton hydraulic jack to right them, and many necessitated a log chain, wedges a other equipment to set them in place where they were wired brushed and re-set.

When the scouts were finished with the stone work, they cleared brush and grasses that were encroaching and stacked the debris for cemetery officials to remove.

"One of the highlights of the work said Jeff, was unearthing two tombstones for infants who had died in 1848 and 1853. Their markers now sit prominently in the eastern most section of the cemetery. I suspect we failed to unearth a few stones," said James, "but we can come back and work again as a service project some day."

"Thanks to cooperation's among young people and adults, and old Stephenson County Cemetery with the earliest grave marked in 1846, is looking like a proper resting place again. "We sure hope people like what we did," said Jeff.

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