Stephen F. Austin State University

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Preserve America Workshop to demonstrate grave marker maintenance

April 23, 2010 - Public Affairs

A Preserve America Workshop on the maintenance and cleaning of grave markers presented by Jason Church will be held Friday, April 30, with a presentation will be held at the J.R. Huffman Public Library in Hemphill from 11 a.m. to noon, followed by a demonstration at the Gasby New Zion Cemetery from 1:30 to 3 p.m.

Church is a materials conservator who specializes in the care of cemetery stone and ironwork. He earned his M.F.A. in historic preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design, and he currently works for the National Center for Preservation Technology and Training in Natchitoches, La.

The Gasby New Zion Cemetery has partnered the Preserve America Cemetery Interpretation Project. This cemetery is a Historic Texas Cemetery established by former slave William Gasby to be used by the neighboring black community. Gasby acquired the property in 1870 and is buried there, along with his wife Mary, his second wife Bettie Elizabeth Clay, and many of their descendents. The cemetery is also known as the New Zion Cemetery for its association with New Zion Methodist Church. The cemetery is located on Kings Road off of Highway 21 near Geneva.

The workshop is part of the Preserve America Cemetery Interpretation Project, a joint project between Stephen F. Austin State University and the City of Nacogdoches. The project focuses on creating interactive Web sites of local cemeteries to promote their preservation and development as heritage tourism destinations.

For more information on the workshop, contact Perky Beisel at pbeisel@sfasu.edu or George Avery at averyg@sfasu.edu or Weldon McDaniel, Sabine County historian, at sabinechc@valornet.com. For more information on the Preserve America Cemetery Interpretation Project, contact Chay Runnels at (936) 468-2060 or runnelsc@sfasu.edu.