Fencing the Courtland Cemetery
Once the Courtland Cemetery was cleaned up in December 2017, the Safford office of the Bureau of Land Management was contacted in early January 2018. Since most of the damage at the cemetery seemed to be from cattle wandering the open range, a proposal was submitted to BLM requesting that the cemetery area be fenced in order to keep the cattle out.
At that same time, a request was also submitted to the Veteran's Administration, to have Simon Franklin's headstone replaced. The new headstone arrived in late February, 2018. You can read about that on Simon Franklin's page.
In conjunction with National Parks Land Day, the date of September 22, 2018 was set by BLM as the date the fence would be installed. The BLM provided the materials, pizza, members from Boy Scout Troop 402, a few extra hands, and tee shirts for all those attending. Two smaller work sessions were done in August and earlier in September to determine where the fence line was to be placed and cut back brush along the new fence line.
In all, there were about 50 good hearted folks who attended the event at the cemetery on September 22nd. A few hundred pounds of weeds and vegetation were hauled off, and Charles Hancock, a retired Army Sgt. Major and President of the Southwest Chapter of the Buffalo Soldiers, arrived in full period Union Army attire and gave a short history of Sgt. Franklin and of the role of the Buffalo Soldiers during the Indian Wars in the area. This was followed by the playing of Taps by Isabella Sagia from Buena High School in Sierra Vista.
The slide show below might be a bit lengthy, but there were too many great photos from which to choose. They are not in any particular order, either. Photo contributions are from Rhonda Hull, Marc Smelser, Clay Posey, Joanne Rummel, and Eric Cee.
The official starting time was 9 AM, but folks began to arrive shortly after 8 AM.
The presentation ceremony began at 11 AM
Members from Boy Scout Troop 402 provided some of the fencing help
Mr. Charles Hancock gave a presentation about the Buffalo Soldiers and Simon Franklin
Everyone worked hard to clear the weeds and vegetation
Our group photo. Everyone got a tee shirt.
When the cleanup was done in December 2017, all but 15 graves were tended to. These were cleared on September 22nd.
Kathy Smelser, Harry Irwin, and Charles Hancock take a break in the shade.
A very special arrangement was made for Simon Franklin's grave.
Joanne Rummel saying a few words.
Certificates of appreciation were presented from BLM
After Charles Hancock spoke at Simon Franklin's grave, Taps was played by Isabella Sagia from Buena High School in Sierra Vista.
Pizza! Everyone had worked up an appetite.
Weeds, weeds, and more weeds. Several hundred pounds were removed from the cemetery.
This guy minded his manners while folks worked around him!
Charles Hancock proudly displays the flag for his Buffalo Soldier's Unit.
Simon Franklin's new headstone.
Lunch time! Everyone gathered in the shade to eat their pizza.
The holes in the graves of Thomas Allen and Jose Garcia were repaired.
Our "Courtland Cemetery, est 1909" now hangs on the fence.