Graveyard Groomer gives Brownstown cemetery a facelift


A cemetery that contains just nine tombstones on only 0.1 acre of land on Brownstown’s west side is currently undergoing a makeover.

The Ewing Cemetery was established in the late 19th century on the property of Premier Ag at 104 Farm Bureau Road in Brownstown and was originally a part of the Robertson Feed Mill.

According to the minutes from a Brownstown Township Board meeting in February, Premier Companies donated the cemetery plot and public access to it to the township. The cemetery also was renamed from the Robertson-Ewing Cemetery to the Ewing Cemetery during that meeting.

Surviving other development in the area since being established more than 160 years ago, workers with Connersville-based cemetery restoration business Graveyard Groomer recently paid a visit to the Ewing Cemetery this past week.

John “Walt” Walters, owner of Graveyard Groomer, said he was excited to be able to work on the cemetery because it was small and it’s nice to be able to finish an entire project, compared to a larger cemetery.

“It’s a small yard, so you’ll get to complete the entire yard instead of kind of getting a few (tombstones) here and a few there,” he said.

Not all of the tombstones at the Ewing Cemetery were visible when Walters and his employees arrived, and a few had to be dug out of the ground.

While the cemetery is small in size, Walters said restoring the tombstones was challenging because they become more difficult to fix as they become more weathered. If a break has been made more recently, he said it’s easier to fix than a break that has been sitting for a long time.

All of the tombstones are marble and came from the 1860s, Walters said, with an exception of a couple that were marble but were replacement stones that families put up after they thought the tombstones for their loved ones were lost.

Graveyard Groomer typically deals with marble and limestone for its restoration projects.

While examining the cemetery Wednesday, Walters and two employees discovered they were restoring a man’s tombstone on his 206th birthday.

An obituary for the man, Charles Lynch Wayman, from a Oct. 21, 1875, issue of The Jackson County Banner, said he was born near Shelbyville, Kentucky, and moved to Jackson County in 1836. He lived here until his death Oct. 13, 1875.

He was an elder with the Church of Christ before creating his own house of worship on the west end of Spring Street.

The obituary said Wayman was buried next to his first wife in his family’s burial ground adjoining “the village of Ewing.”

“We love it when there’s a birthday for someone,” Walters said. “Happy birthday, Charles!”

Walters said it goes to show how resilient some cemeteries and tombstones are to be able to come back to the site and make repairs.

“I’m never bored with my graveyards, but when you get to do something as challenging as those two or three stones there, it reminds me of why I continue to do this,” he said. “I hate to think it, but it seems like if I didn’t come along and we didn’t do this, it probably never ever would’ve gotten done.”

This week, Graveyard Groomer will be making final touches and checking its work on the tombstones and moving its operation to Woodmansee Cemetery, which is near Hillview Mobile Home Park in Brownstown.

The Old Brownstown Cemetery, located behind the Jackson County History Center, received restoration work from Graveyard Groomer in October of last year. Vallonia’s Miller Cemetery has also received attention from Graveyard Groomer in the past.

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