DUKE CENTER – The Otto Township Cemetery Association may soon have a third property to conserve and care for, thanks to some curious residents and the exploration work of township employee Scott Bell and cemetery keeper of ‘Oak Hill of Eldred, Joel Gilfert.
These two “dug up” the long-abandoned graves at Prentisvale, just east of the Kaluza Salvage Workshop. A tombstone was the initial impetus that led to the discovery of other graves. Local tradition claims that there are at least a dozen graves; The intention of Gilfert, Bell and the Cemetery Association is to continue this endeavor, restoring the recognition and respect that was once accorded to those buried there.
Anyone with information, or eager to help, is invited to attend the association’s next meeting at 5:00 p.m. on June 17 at Duke Center Methodist Church. If unable to attend, President Sharon Schwab can be called at (814) 558-4973.
The annual âCemetery Improvement Saturdaysâ will be held June 19 at Rixford Cemetery and June 26 at the Duke Center. Township residents and others who wish to participate are asked to show up at 10 a.m. with gardening tools, energy and a few friends or neighbors. The township agreed to help with the heavy lifting – repositioning some headstones and bases, removing and pruning trees, and treating runoff at the Duke Center site.
Cemetery keeper Cody Stone went to extra effort to prevent ATV riders from using the Rixford Cemetery right-of-way as a trail by erecting a metal gate at the top of the property. Anyone caught on horseback on the cemetery grounds will be prosecuted with all the rigor of the law.