Colerain man working to fix up centuries-old cemetery, honor veterans

COLERAIN TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - A centuries-old cemetery in Colerain Township is in need of a facelift.

Tombstones dating back to the early 1800s sit there, some broken, some with names worn away.  There are 64 graves at the Compton Family Cemetery.
A set of steps leading from Pippin Road is all that can be seen from the sidewalk.  Those steps lead to that historic cemetery.
"My first thought was, 'Has this been lost through many years of people just not knowing it's here,'" said Kevin Maddock who is working to restore the area.
Maddock moved to the neighborhood nearby about 12 years ago.  The township keeps the grass mowed, but Father Time has weathered the rest.
"At that time, the trees and everything weren't as overgrown, so you could see a little bit of it.  I always said, I just want to go there and check out the names, the history," said Maddock.
With the foliage so overgrown here, if you didn't already know the cemetery was here, you'd probably never find it, or the history that comes along with it, and Maddock is out to change that.
"Honoring history is one of the most important things that we can do.  If we forget about history, that's one of the building blocks of America," he said.
In his research, he found a family wiped out by a cholera outbreak.  He found names on headstones that match street names in Colerain Township. He also found a Civil War casualty.
"Right next to him is his brother who was also killed in the Civil War.  Then I also noticed that there's a Revolutionary War veteran that's also buried here," Maddock told FOX19.
Maddock, an Army National Guard veteran himself, has cleaned the headstones of the war vets, placed flags and left flowers, all in time for Memorial Day.
"I figured, at least, that's something I could do to honor what they've done for us," he said.
The township has helped with cleaning supplies for Maddock. 

FOX19 spoke with Colerain Township's public services director, Kevin Swartzhoff who says incremental improvements are planned, and he'll meet with an individual who repairs broken headstones. He adds that the township has 12 historical cemeteries, and all of them are maintained by the Parks and Services Department with limited financial resources.

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