MADERA — A new stone, perched on an embankment above Crooked Sewer Road, marks Henderson Cemetery — a small burial site with a rich history.

Volunteer caretaker Tom Stodart celebrated the installation of the stone and new flag pole, complete with a solar light, on Veteran’s Day. Stodart has been caring for the cemetery, located near Henderson Street, for about 27 years.

His wife Joyce’s previous husband and family maintained the resting place.

“They were the original caretakers and then it came into really disrepair,” said Stodart. “I said to Joyce that I’m going to go up to the cemetery and see what I can do.”

Joyce’s nephew made the original sign out of wood. The elements wore on the sign, which began to fall apart, Stodart noted.

Stodart began going to various organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and Woodward Township Supervisors, asking for help. A private individual also donated money toward the cemetery’s care.

“Once they all heard what he was doing, they were more than eager to help,” said Joyce Stodart, “Because a lot of people didn’t even know that cemetery was even there.”

Stodart has ideas for the surrounding areas, which feature historical elements such as an old schoolhouse foundation.

Stodart lives only a stone’s throw away from the cemetery. A shed contains all of his gear. The caretaker even has a trail to the cemetery from the house.

Routine maintenance includes mowing the grass about once a week. Sinking stones require dirt for leveling, Stodart noted.

The oldest gravestone, Joyce Stodart recalls, is from 1793. The stone’s markings may appear different than today.

Robert Mathers, born June 16, 1798, died at the age of 78 years and two months, according to his gravestone.

And the most recent addition to the cemetery was in the early 1900s, according to Stodart.

The stones were recently maintained. When Philipsburg Marble & Granite set up the new stone, Tom Stodart asked if the gravestones could get some attention. For a cost covered by donations from the community, the stones received care.

“The stones that were broken, we had to glue them all back together as much as we possibly could, because they’re frail,” Stodart said.

Other features of the cemetery include a World War I veteran. It is believed there may be a Civil War Veteran. However, this has not been confirmed, Stodart stated.

Former Clearfield County Historical Society President — the late David Wulderk — began looking into the history of the cemetery. Wulderk passed away in August. Another gentleman will potentially assist with the research process, according to Stodart.

Prior to the new stone, it may have been difficult to see the historic site. Stodart hopes some trees will be soon cut back, clearing out the space so drivers can better see it. Woodward Township will likely aid this process.

Right now, Stodart is doing well caring for the cemetery by himself. In the future, he may need help. He is grateful for the ongoing support the community has provided so far.

“There’s the overwhelming response for help,” said Stodart. “I can’t say enough about the supervisors, the veterans or the Legion or anybody.”

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