Grant awarded to Joseph Cemetery

Madaleen Bingham, left, and Lani Levie display the cemetery directory and remembrance book and the Utah Heritage Grant check received in the amount of $6,196 from the state of Utah by the Joseph Cemetery Committee in Joseph, June 19.

JOSEPH – The Joseph Cemetery Committee received a Utah Heritage grant in the amount of $6,196 from the state of Utah for a project designed to update cemetery records and assemble them for online research and referencing. 

The Joseph Cemetery Committee began a difficult and lengthy project to make a complete list of everyone buried in the Joseph Cemetery and the location of each grave in September 2017, according to Gina Nowell, Joseph Cemetery Committee chairperson. 

After a lot of work and research, the project produced a cemetery directory and remembrance book, which has now been updated from its initial 85-page version released in June 2018, and will continue to be updated as the project continues. 

When the project began, the committee estimated more than 280 children under the age of 10 who died of childhood diseases and epidemics were buried in the cemetery, more than 70 veterans and at least 55 other graves lacked markers or headstones. 

In order to apply for the grant in July 2018, the records had to be compatible with the Utah Division of Archives and Records Service software program, which also required the name, location, date of birth and date of death to be accurate, according Nowell. 

“We contacted several companies to assist with the design and integration of the new software,” Nowell said. “We were surprised that some refused to even meet with us without our signing a contract with them.

“We were so fortunate Ensign Engineering not only met with us, but came on board with the project and has been phenomenal to work with. They were able to piggyback off the water metering software program the city of Joseph already uses to accommodate our needs,” Nowell said. 

The committee is in the process of organizing a visit by Bill Keach, geologist at Brigham Young University, who will bring ground-penetrating equipment and assist in locating additional unmarked graves. 

“Thousands of hours have been invested by volunteers to get this project to where it is today and we will continue our efforts until the committee is satisfied all graves have been identified and recorded,” Nowell said. “I want to give a special thank you to Twila Owens, who got the project started, as well as Madaleen Bingham, Lani Levie, Haley Obray, Josh Nowell and Kelly Crane. This wouldn’t have happened without each of them and their tremendous contributions to the project.” 

The Joseph Cemetery is located at 132 South 250 West in Joseph. For more information, call the Joseph Town Hall Wednesdays or Thursdays at (435) 527-4394.

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