Manila Cemetery books ready

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

It has been a two year project compiling information about the Manila Cemetery to place in book form. Clifford and Shirley Peyton and Barbara Lasater, the BSC Heritage Group, have two books on the Manila Cemetery ready to be purchased.

B.S.C. Heritage Group, Barbara Lasater, Shirley and Clifford Peyton have compiled and printed Manila Cemetery books.

Mr. and Mrs. Peyton have put in more hours than they thought possible gathering information, working on a list (the best they could) recording gravesites. The history of Manila Cemetery goes back over 100 years and many of the records were destroyed in a fire.

They divided the cemetery into sections A-D and started recording everything they could find. There is one book listed by alphabetical order and another book by lots.

"It was not started as a money making project," Mrs. Peyton said. "We started it because there was a need to compile information as well as possible and it turned into quite a job."

Two books to choose from.

"I know how many hours I put in and Cliff and Shirley put in three times as many as I did," Mrs. Lasater said.

The books will sell for $50 each.

There are spaces to fill in for future lots sold.

"It would be very helpful if people would bring me a copy of their burial permits with the lot numbers for the records," Mr. Peyton said. "Also, just a birth date for people would be helpful. We may have more than one buried with the same name and the birth date will help us distinguish when we are helping someone try to locate a family member or friend."

Mr. Peyton retired from the military and the couple returned to this area to make their home. They took an interest in the Manila Cemetery and have spent many hours there. They take care of the lots being sold and are pleased to have the new section E opening for the sale of lots.

For more information on the books or to purchase a lot, persons may call (870) 539-6870 or (870) 838-9258.

"There are some lots still available in Section D," Peyton said.

A computer has been added to keep up with the records and help family members find their loved ones gravesites.

"If I am not at the cemetery, I can pull up the records at home and help people by phone who are looking for their family members or friends' burial sites."

There is a map on the front door of the building that shows the present area and where a future building will be built for storage and maintenance.

"The cemetery is such an important part of the community and its history," Mrs. Peyton said.

The books are available, but keeping the future records to go along with the books will be an ongoing project.

"I wish we could have had a name for every lot that does not have a stone but that is impossible. If a family member knows the vicinity of where a loved one is buried we would appreciate the information so we can add it to the records," Peyton said.

"There should be respect for the cemetery and unfortunately too many people throw trash and cans around for the caretaker to have to clean up."

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