Meeting Dates

Accepted Minutes of Meeting November 18, 2009

Accepted Minutes of Meeting November 18, 2009

Middletown Police Station

In attendance:  Evelyn Wheeler, Judith Fardig, Letty Champion, Pegee Malcolm, Bruce MacGunnigle,, David Kirchner, Lee Teverow, Sally Small

Excused Absences:  Robert Butler, Henry Duquette, Paul Robinson, Edna Kent, James Spears

Meeting called to order at 7:15 by Chairwoman Wheeler

 1.      Introduction of DRAFT minutes from September 16, 2009

      Pegee Malcolm noted a typographical error and that she had abstained from                 

      the Chairperson election vote as well.

      Motion to accept minutes as amended by Bruce MacGunnigle, with a second

      By Judith Fardig

      8 – 0 to accept minutes as amended

 2.      Cemetery Committees of RI Cities and Towns Report – Vice-Chair Pegee Malcolm


Additions and corrections were suggested, Pegee to update list with additional information and finalized list to be posted on website

3.      Report on GPS – Chairwoman Wheeler

Charlestown and Cumberland done

December 7th or 8th – Evelyn to work on Foster

Volunteers needed

West Warwick data will be sent to Evelyn

 4.      Report from members

a.      Judith Fardig:  Discussion regarding Barton Cemetery (Bristol #7), title searches, real estate disclosure regarding cemeteries on property, enforcing marking cemetery locations on plat maps, assessors maps, planting trees at Veterans’ Cemetery with RI Tree Council

b.      Sally Small:  Barrington Cemetery Commission purchased additional property for future plots (original endowment in 1910 was for 7 acres); Spalding Cemetery in Lincoln where a Real Daughter is buried is in bad shape; additional discussion of photographs of cemeteries and stones

c.      Lee Teverow:  The Historical Society continues to field various standard questions; discussion regarding a family that found a gravestone in their yard which the database indicated was not originally located near their home; refer family to local Commission or representative of the appropriate county

d.      Bruce MacGunnigle:  Varnum Memorial Army has an SAR gravestone (the original was replaced); research on 6 Real Sons – photographs of all but 1 of the stones; 1850’s map showing a cemetery that doesn’t exist now

e.      David Kirchner:  2 Eagle Scouts working on the trails and mapping where the trails go; RI Job Corps maintaining gardens, additional burial fields and additional niches; Department of Veterans Affairs will soon be a separate Department

f.        Letty Champion:  “Colonial Cemeteries of Newport” book printed previous day – over two years of work invested – book includes 2 DVDs with over 9000 photographs of stones; work on Veterans cards, GPS and photo project in Tiverton

g.      Pegee Malcolm:  Coventry Cemetery Commission – January meeting set, advertisements for meetings and GPS readings; 7 stones repaired in Brayton Cemetery; Eagle Scout projects; Pegee was the recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award!

h.     Evelyn Wheeler:  Property owner in Woonsocket (15 years) has stones and obelisks all over the yard and in the retaining wall; discussion regarding Precious Blood cemetery washing out; MIT satellite imaging will be done on Oak Hill Cemetery

 5.      Report on GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) – Chairwoman Wheeler and

Lester Hilton from Cumberland learned that the Dept of Agriculture in Warwick has a GPR unit, and is going to use it to determine if a couple of possible "cemeteries" really are cemeteries

 6.      Next meeting – Woonsocket April 21, 2010 at 7 pm

 7.      Set up sub-committee for web site:  Henry Duquette, Paul Robinson, Lee Teverow, Evelyn Wheeler, and Pegee Malcolm

Introduction of Paul Robinson’s outline of Problems/Needs/Possible Solutions – see separate document

 8.      Set up sub-committee for funding project:  Letty Champion, Evelyn Wheeler and Pegee Malcolm

Senator Whitehouse would like to back funding requests for upkeep, repair, and cleanup of cemeteries

Evelyn Wheeler has a meeting with A. T. Wall (ACI) on December 7th to discuss the possibility of setting up a work detail to help maintain cemeteries

 9.      Update on RIGL’s – Chairwoman Wheeler – discussion tabled for next meeting

 10. Bruce MacGunnigle made a motion to adjourn the meeting, with a second by David Kirchner

Meeting adjourned at 8:36 pm

Pegee Malcolm announced that she may not be immediately available over the next several months due to personal reasons

 Respectfully Submitted by Emily Corbett, Secretary

Minutes of Meeting September 16, 2009

RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission, Providence

In Attendance: Evelyn Wheeler, Edna Kent, Henry Duquette, Judith Fardig, Robert Butler, Letty Champion, Pegee Malcolm, Bruce MacGunnigle, Paul Robinson, David Kirchner, Lee Teverow, Sally Small

Meeting called to order at 7:08 pm by Chairwoman Wheeler

1. Introduction of Minutes June 17, 2009 Motion to accept minutes as presented by Robert Butler, with a second by Judith Fardig 11 – 0 to accept minutes

2. Discussion on Rules and Regulations additions and changes

  • Several minor modifications and additions made, followed by a lengthy discussion regarding 6.4 – Term Limits
  • Motion to approve Rules and Regulation addition and changes with recommended amendments, separating out section 6.4 for now, made by Bruce MacGunnigle with a second by Judith Fardig 12 – 0 to approve, motion carries
  • Motion to approve Rules and Regulations additions and changes section 6.4 as written made by Henry Duquette with a second by Paul Robinson 8 – 4 to approve, motion carries
  • Revised Recommendations for Rules and Regulations additions and changes are attached in a separate document

3. Report on documentation of Veterans’ cards by Chairwoman Wheeler

  • All cards have been photographed and put on CD’s
  • The cards have been divided by town, and a few Commission members are currently working on transcribing them into an Excel spreadsheet
  • Some cards, especially those for Civil War veterans, have an amazing amount of detail on them
  • More transcription volunteers are needed

4. Update on website – Henry Duquette

  • The original proposal has been reviewed with Kenneth Rahn, and some details were modified, but the framework remains the same
  • A host location for the database needs to be identified because “administrator” access for users other than Ken can’t be granted in its current location – the State Archives and Department of Health Vital Records office were suggested
  • Guidelines need to be established for people who wish to submit changes or additions
  • Discussion regarding John Sterling having granted permission to use the data, and that he is still being notified of additions changes, although his changes have not been updated at the original database locations in quite some time
  • Henry will arrange another meeting with Ken to finalize the proposal as soon as Ken is available
  • Chairwoman Wheeler will look into changing/updating the links posted on RI Gen Web

5. Chairwoman Wheeler reported that he GPS project continues to move forward – Barrington, Bristol, and Warren are done, and Warwick is about half done

6. Report on City and Town Cemetery Commissions

  • All but 9 now have commissions
  • Coventry Friends Group has just started, with 6 – 8 attendees
  • West Warwick is still working on establishing their commission
  • Cranston’s commission is doing well
  • It was suggested that a list of all city and town cemetery commissions be added to the Commission’s website

7. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair

  • Robert Butler nominated Evelyn Wheeler for Chairperson with no additional nominees 11 - 0 for approval, with Chairwoman Wheeler abstaining
  • Robert Butler nominated Pegee malcom for Vice Chairperson with no additional nominees 11 – 0 for approval with Vice-Chair Malcolm abstaining

8. Other Business

  1. Work on the clean up and restoration of Locust Grove, continues, with the help of the Indian Council - the project ends in 9 days
  2. Pegee Malcolm reported that the Warwick Historical Cemetery Commission met with Rhode Island Airport Corporation President, Kevin Dillon, regarding the airport expansion possibly impacting four historical cemeteries. Essentially they were told that it is too early to be able to determine what impact the expansion might have on the cemeteries.
  3. Warwick DPW will make signs, but questions regarding who has the disk to create them
  4. Sheldon Whitehouse’s office contacted Chairwoman Wheeler, interested in trying to obtain some Federal funding for clean-up of cemeteries with Veteran burials. Chairwoman Wheeler has a scheduled meeting later this week with staff from his office.
  5. Indian Council looking for information on the practical applications of volunteering for cemetery clean-ups, repairs, etc…
  6. Follow-up with Representative David Caprio needed to try to get the pending modifications of RIGL 23-18 introduced during next session
  7. Chairwoman Wheeler distributed a draft of a letter to Gary Alexander, the Director of the RI Department of Human Services and the head of RI’s Veterans Affairs. Pegee Malcolm agreed to make some revisions based upon Commission member’s feedback, and then redistribute for further review.

Robert Butler made a motion to adjourn the meeting, with a second by Lee Teverow. Meeting adjourned at 9:18 pm.

Respectfully submitted by Emily Corbett, Secretary

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Minutes of Meeting June 17, 2009

RI Veterans Cemetery, Exeter

In Attendance:  Evelyn Wheeler, Edna Kent, Henry Duquette, Judith Fardig, Robert Butler, James Spears, Letty Champion, Pegee Malcolm, Bruce MacGunnigle, Carolyn Crist- Schwab, Paul Robinson, David Kirchner, Lee Teverow

Excused Absences:  Sally Small

Meeting called to order at 6:50 pm by Chairwoman Wheeler

1.      Introduction of Minutes April 15, 2009

            Sally Small submitted a correction via e-mail, which was distributed to members

            Motion to accept minutes as amended by Bruce MacGunnigle, with a second by

           Judith Fardig

           11 – 0 to accept minutes as amended

2.      Next year’s meeting schedule

  • September 16, 2009  RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission (Paul Robinson to arrange)
  • November 18, 2009  Newport Public Library
  • April 21, 2010  Woonsocket Public Library
  • June 15, 2010  North Kingstown Public Library (Evelyn Wheeler to arrange)

3.      Chairwoman Wheeler reported that an Eagle Scout had thoroughly cleaned Lincoln #30.  Overgrowth was cleared, poison ivy was killed, existing railings were repaired, donations for new railings were obtained, and a local representative donated $50 for a new sign.  The Scout was unable to attend the meeting and do his presentation, but will attend a future meeting.  Chairwoman Wheeler encouraged all Commission Members to ask their local representatives for donations for signs

4.      Report from RIACHC Purpose and Rules Committee – Lee Teverow

Introduced and read the minutes of the June 8, 2009 meeting

Discussion regarding the fact that the RIACHC is a conduit for passing information

Commission members must bring to the full Commission any issues that are not fully addressed by RIGL, and the full Commission must approve responses involving a dispute

Recommend adding to the Rules and Regulations information regarding duties of officers, commission members, term limits, and procedures for nomination of officers

Motion to request that the Purpose and Rules Committee draft suggested additions to the Rules and Regulations and bring back to full Committee by Bruce MacGunnigle, with a second by Robert Butler

13 - 0 to approve motion      

5.      Chairwoman Wheeler reported that Heather MacDonald has agreed to a compromise with regard to her original request to renumber two EG cemeteries

6.      Report on Rules and Regulations filing by Chairwoman Wheeler

Rules and Regulations have officially been adopted – distributed at meeting

Ted Sanderson from the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission recommended changes via a letter

·         Modify Rule !: Purpose to read “The purpose of these rules and regulations is to establish the operating procedures of the Advisory Commission on Historical Cemeteries”

·         Modify Rule 2:  Authority to read “…promulgated pursuant to Chapter 23-18.3-1…”

7.      Report on Archives by Chairwoman Wheeler

Chairwoman Wheeler provided the RI State Archives with copies of the original Commission’s meeting minutes, as well as the last 3 years of the current Commission’s meeting minutes

8.      Report on Locust Grove Cemetery (PV004) database by Chairwoman Wheeler

Now complete with the exception of 6 stones that need to be checked.  John Sterling has been provided with the information.

9.      Gary Alexander, the new Director of the RI Department of Human Services sent letters requesting proposals.  Discussion tabled.

10.  Report on proposal for website by Henry Duquette

Introduced and reviewed the Proposal

Henry will review with Kenneth Rahn who is currently administering the database website

11.  DOT letters received for proposed project in Pawtucket

Discussion regarding possibly drafting a “Form Letter” that thanks the DOT for informing the Commission, and refers them to the appropriate local authority.  Henry Duquette and Paul Robinson will develop a draft for review.

12.  Other Business

a.      Bruce MacGunnigle reported that he found reference to two cemeteries on his street while researching deeds, but that they only appeared to be in use for a very short period before being moved .  They have been identified as EG #90 and #91, and he has been able to determine who the likely burials were and where they have been relocated to.

b.      Robert Butler discussed a cemetery on Fish Hill Road on West Greenwich/Coventry line that appeared in an 1840 deed but was moved in the 1900’s to Maple Root Cemetery.  John Sterling is going to assign a number to it, but the owner of the property, who landscaped the area, says there is no evidence of it

c.      Sally Small, via e-mail, suggested that the Commission consider setting up workshops for gravestone photography.  The Rhode Island Genealogical Society is doing one in September.

d.      Coventry Cemetery Commission had a meeting on June 16, and there were about 15 in attendance.  Next meeting July 7th – location TBD

e.      Chairwoman Wheeler passed around “In and About Westerly” by Thomas O’Connell, who was in attendance

Bruce MacGunnigle made a motion to adjourn the meeting, with a second by Robert Butler.  Meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm. 

Respectfully submitted by Emily Corbett, Secretary

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Minutes of Meeting April 15, 2009

Warren Senior Center

In Attendance: Evelyn Wheeler, Edna Kent, Henry Duquette, Judith Fardig, Sally Small, James Spears, Letty Champion, Pegee Malcolm, Bruce MacGunnigle, Carolyn Crist- Schwab, Paul Robinson, David Kirchner, Lee Teverow

Excused Absences: Robert Butler

Meeting called to order at 6:55 pm by Chairwoman Wheeler

Chairwoman Wheeler announced that the meeting would be filmed by someone making a documentary and asked if there were any objections – no objections.

Next Commission Meeting will be held June 17th at 6:45pm at the Exeter Veterans Cemetery, Administration Office.

Introduction of Minutes November 19, 2008

Lee Teverow requested that the minutes be modified to reflect that the Rules and Regulations are in DRAFT form Motion to accept minutes as amended by Bruce MacGunnigle, with a second by Judith Fardig

12 – 0 to accept minutes as amended

Paul Robinson discussed his concerns that the Chairwoman had written letters to the DOT in response to their requests for input regarding construction projects in Cumberland, and that the letters had been drafted without consensus of the other members, and went beyond the Commission’s scope and purpose. It was agreed that the Commission is currently limited statutorily to advise only the General Assembly, so should refer such requestors to the City or Town.

Lee Teverow made a motion to form a subcommittee to clarify the purpose of the Commission, who the Commission reports to, who the Commission advises, and on what, with a second by Pegee Malcolm

13 – 0 to form a subcommittee

Subcommittee members: Pegee Malcolm, Jim Spears, Henry Duquette, Paul Robinson and Lee Teverow

Kenneth Rahn provided an update on the cemetery database, and it was noted that he will work on a maiden name index, and entering the stone type information as well. Discussion regarding who owns and is responsible for maintaining the database, and that there needs to be a formal and official process. Henry Duquette agreed to draft an outline of questions and proposals for next meeting.

Henry Duquette discussed that Burriville will be conducting workshops for property owners whose property abuts cemeteries, including information on adoption, caring for cemeteries, legal issues, and rights of way. He requested information on Rights of Way, and was referred to CRMC and RI General Law.

Evelyn discussed S0010/H5231 which increases the fine to $5000 for damage to a soldiers and sailors tomb, monument, or gravestone.

Sally Small reported that the RI DAR chapter continues to work on a project of locating and photographing pictures of the original DAR members; Barrington Cemetery Commission is continuing their photographic inventory project.

Evelyn Wheeler reported that the GIS project has 830 locations recorded, with 61 confirmed. She is coordinating the project and is looking for volunteers.

Edna Kent reported that Ponagansett High School has 16 gravestones on their property that need to be located; Need volunteers with a chainsaw to clear tree growth; Eagle Scout is going to clean the Pain-Martin cemetery.

DOT is requesting the Commission’s input on a project in Little Compton which James Spears didn’t get a chance to take a look at. Commission members agreed that it’s not within their scope.

Developer for a Hopkington truck stop is hiring PAL to do a survey.

Earth Day Events

Judy Fardig: North Burial Ground
Pegee Malcolm: Brayton Cemetery 4/25 and 4/26
Henry Duquette: 3 cemeteries on 4/18
Evelyn Wheeler: Knightsville Cemetery (continued)

Lee Teverow reported that a Brown professor is looking for information on slave cemeteries in RI – Newport, North Burial Ground, North Main Street

Evelyn Wheeler reported that the documentation project for Locust Grove Cemetery in Providence is up to the “M’s”.

Pegee Malcolm reported that the monuments were laid today for the Route 37 reburial project, and that landscaping will be done.

Chairwoman Wheeler reviewed the RIGL amendments that were previously distributed to Commission members and will be introduced soon. Lee Teverow requested that the full text of the laws, as well as an up-to-date copy of the amended sections be sent to everyone prior to approval.

Bruce MacGunnigle made a motion to adjourn the meeting, with a second by Pegee Malcolm. Meeting adjourned at 9:02 pm. 

Respectfully submitted by Emily Corbett, Secretary

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Minutes of Meeting November 19, 2008

Commissioners in attendance: Evelyn Wheeler, Margaret Malcolm, Judith Fardig, Sally Small, Edna M. Kent, Henry Duquette, Lee Teverow, Bruce MacGunnigle, Robert S. Butler, Paul A. Robinson, Carolyn Crist-Schwab.

Chairwoman Evelyn Wheeler called the meeting to order at 7:08 p.m.


Lee Teverow said Goal 1 on development of the Commission’s Web site should be amended to include wording that work continue on the cemetery database linked to the site. The wording is needed to ensure the base is considered the principal, up-to-date location for Rhode Island cemetery data. A motion to accept the minutes as amended was made by Bruce MacGunnigle, with a second by Edna Kent. The motion passed unanimously.

Member reports

Chairwoman Wheeler reported that the Secretary of State has accepted the Commission’s Rules and Regulations (32-18-3.1) and will make them available on the Secretary of State’s Web site.

Chairwoman Wheeler announced the Commission’s next meeting will be held April 15 at 6:45 p.m. in the Warren Senior Center, Kickemuit Village housing for the elderly, 20 Libby Lane, Warren.

Chairwoman Wheeler reported she was contacted by the Johnston Historical Society over plans by the developer of a Walgreen’s drug store to build the store up to the wall of an adjacent historical cemetery. Wheeler reported that the Town of Johnston has issued a cease and desist order at the site on Cherry Hill Lane off Atwood Avenue. After much discussion over the role the Chairwoman should play in the controversy,  the Commission suggested the Chairwoman act only in an advisory capacity to Johnston officials.

Chairwoman Wheeler reported she has received several calls from people concerned about perpetual care not be being given to grave sites. Bruce MacGunnigle reported there are sections of State Law (23-18-8.3 and 23.18.9) that deal with how perpetual care money is to be use, how it must be kept in a separate account from other cemetery monies, and how it is to be invested.

Chairwoman Wheeler reported she met with her State Representative on re-introducing in January those rules and regulations of the Commission that have not yet passed the General Assembly. She said those include more members from Providence County, and to have a Commission quorum consist of 50 percent of members plus 1.

Paul Robinson reported he had been contacted by Doug Harris, the deputy historian of the Narragansett Indian Tribe, wanting to know if the Commission  knew anything about an Indian burial mound having been located on Willow Avenue in Narragansett. Chairwoman Wheeler, who lives in Narragansett, said she would “talk to some of the old-timers in town.”

Margaret Malcolm moved and Robert Butler seconded a motion that Chairwoman Wheeler provide Commission members with a monthly newsletter on her activities, along with issues she knew of that might impact the Commission. The motion passed unanimously.

Lee Teverow reported that she is trying to make the data base more accessible and still trying to get an updated version of the database.

Edna Kent reported that two test holes were dug next to the mounds in Gloucester and they turned up only charcoal and stones.

Chairwoman Wheeler reported that volunteers are still documenting Locust Grove Cemetery in Providence. There is more to do and volunteers are needed.

Sally Small reported that the Daughters of the American Revolution was trying to locate the graves of 760 “real” Rhode Island daughters of the Revolution -- those who were the daughters of fathers who fought in the Revolutionary War. The DAR wants to re-set their stones and mark them. So far, 26 have been done.


The meeting adjourned at 7:50 p.m. on a motion from Evelyn Wheeler and a second by Robert Butler.

After-Meeting Presentation

Kenneth Rahn Jr. gave an update of the Rhode Island Historical Cemeteries web site, and the Locust Grove Cemetery project. He also reported that descriptions of individual cemeteries should be added in the next week or so. They also want to add a comment section.

Sally Small had a question about a grave for Amey Evelyth buried in Locust Grove. She was given the correct lot number.

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Minutes of Meeting September 17, 2008

West Greenwich Town Hall In attendance: Evelyn Wheeler, Pegee Malcolm, Judy Fardig, Sally Small, Bruce MacGunnigle, Robert Butler, Lee Teverow, Edna Kent, David Kirchner Excused Absences: Paul Robinson, Carolyn Crist-Schwab Former commission members who chose not to be reappointed: Rosemarie Mello and Roger Beaudry Meeting called to order at 6:35 pm by Chairwoman Wheeler Introduction of Minutes of June 18, 2008 by Chairwoman Wheeler Sally Small requested that “Barrington Historical Cemetery Commission” be modified to read “Barrington Cemetery Commission” Motion to accept minutes as amended by Bruce MacGunnigle, second by Robert Butler 9 – 0 to accept minutes as amended

Rules and Regulations have been approved by the Secretary of State and must be posted on their website for 30 days before they can become official

Member report on summer activities:
  1. Lee Teverow:  Has been attempting to reach John Sterling for assistance with database printing issues at the RIHS Library
  2. David Kirchner:  Veterans’ Cemetery groundstaff and DOT assisted with the Cranston reburial; Current focus is on the federally funded construction and renovation project at the Veterans Cemetery with a target date of November 1st for completion
  3. Robert Butler:  Current focus is on finding all the West Greenwich cemeteries – 140 have been located with GPS coordinates; Adopt a Cemetery program has about 45 people; After converting GPS coordinates to RI State coordinates, the Town Engineer will put cemeteries on all town plat maps
  4. Edna Kent:  Working with volunteers on brush removal; Working with a student volunteer at the Heritage Society Archives; Located new cemetery on Route 5 in North Smithfield; Greenville dance class has volunteered to clean a cemetery, MA resident will help locate an ancestral cemetery in Glocester
  5. Bruce MacGunnigle:  Katelyn Baccari has volunteered to photograph all gravestones in East Greenwich, and is working with Bruce on this project; Reynolds Family Association invited him to speak; Public Works Director of EG has begun the GPS program
  6. Pegee Malcolm:  Helping West Warwick Cemetery Commission get underway; attendance at Knight Street burials; Cleaned four cemeteries; Reburial of Charlotte Drive bones at Brayton Cemetery is scheduled for September 27th; Warwick Cemetery Commission meets the 1st Tuesday of every month – all are welcome to attend
  7. Sally Small:  Fannin-Lehner Restoration Consultants repaired 15 stones; Prince’s Hill Cemetery has lost 3-4 slate stones; Retired high school teacher is working on photographing and touching up photos of all gravestones in Barrington; Suggestion that graduating classes could photograph stones as a senior project each year
  8. Judy Fardig:  Project to clean up North Burial Ground in Warren – Boy Scouts helped to clean it up, the town put up a new fence, grass seed and flowers were planted, DPW will plant flowering trees, the Church’s roof  drain was redirected to prevent future wash-out
  9. Evelyn Wheeler:  Knightsville Cemetery cleaning – located 50 buried stones and will mark each burial using RI State Archives documents detailing all burial locations; Cranston Cemetery Commission ordinance approved and will go in front of City Council; Attended Sons of Union Veterans reburial of Michael McElroy; Attended AGS conference; Narrangansett will soon have a historical cemetery commission
Next Year’s Meeting Schedule November 19, 2008:

Warwick or East Greenwich location TBA
April 15, 2009: Warren Senior Center
June 17, 2009: Veteran’s Cemetery Conference Room
September 16, 2009:

Preservation Society Discussion regarding whether a work session needs to be scheduled for October to work on additional legislative modification suggestions. Decision was made to attempt to reintroduce previously proposed legislation for the January 2009 session before working on any new ones.

Demonstration by Kenneth Rahn on the new, searchable website for RI Graves. Following the demonstration, there was a general discussion regarding the future of the current database, and the scope of Kenneth’s project. Motion by Bruce MacGunnigle to offer thanks to Kenneth Rahn for the time and effort he has put into this project.

Report on the Commission’s accomplishments over the past two years:

1. Updated the “black book” and delivered them to all cities and towns to help make them aware of the historic value of our cemeteries

2. Helped several cities and towns to formulate awareness and adoption programs for historical cemeteries including Historical Cemetery Committees

3. Requested cities and towns put cemeteries on their plat maps

4. Put up a website, with the help of a volunteer webmaster and

5. Arranged to have John Sterling and Deby Nunes work on a link to make the website available to all instead of at a few libraries

6. Through news articles in the area newspapers and the NY Times, we have recruited many volunteers to clean up and document many cemeteries – on Earth Day as well as other times of the year.

Nominations and Elections for Chairperson and Vice Chairperson:

1. Bruce MacGunnigle nominated Evelyn Wheeler for Chairperson with a second by Robert Butler. Voted 7 – 0 for approval with Evelyn Wheeler and Pegee Malcolm abstaining

2. Bruce MacGunnigle nominated Pegee Malcolm for Vice Chairperson with a second by Robert Butler. Voted 7 – 0 for approval with Evelyn Wheeler and Pegee Malcolm abstaining

Discussion regarding possible goals for the next year:

1. Continue with website development

2. Reintroduce previously proposed legislation for January 2009 session

3. Help cities and towns that still need a cemetery commission (14/39) with a focus on Coventry and Foster first

4. GPS readings for all cemeteries by June 2009

5. Photographs of all slate stones by June 2009

6. Find additional sources for volunteers to assist with cemetery cleanups

7. Work with locations who have the full database to fix printing issues, starting with the RIHS library and asking Roger Beaudry for assistance

Motion to adjourn meeting at 8:35 pm and begin Open Forum by Chairwoman Wheeler

Katelyn Baccari asked for some information regarding what to do with the EG gravestone photos she is taking as they accumulate, and a decision was made to save them on CD or DVD for now. Commission will follow up with John Sterling and Barbara Austin for suggestions. New signs will not be made, as the workshop has been closed down. 80 old signs were found, with 20 still left to be picked up. Discussion regarding the Missing in America Project, an organization dedicated to locating and interring unclaimed cremation remains. Possible new cemetery found in Charlestown on Nature Conservatory grounds A new cemetery (SK 204) has been located in South Kingstown

Open Meeting adjourned at 8:52 pm

Next Meeting: November 19, 2008 at 6:30 pm – location TBA

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Amended and Accepted Minutes of Meeting June 18, 2008

Minutes of Meeting June 18, 2008
Warren Senior Center, Warren

In attendance: Pegee Malcolm, Judy Fardig, Sally Small, Bruce MacGunnigle, Paul Robinson, Robert Butler, Lee Teverow Excused Absences: Evelyn Wheeler, David Kirchner, Carolyn Crist-Schwab, Edna Kent, Roger Beaudry

Meeting called to order at 6:47 pm by Pegee Malcom, Co-Chair

Recommendation by Pegee Malcolm that the Meeting Minutes include Commission Members who are excused from the meetings

Introduction of Minutes of February 27, 2008 Work Session by Pegee Malcolm Motion to accept minutes by Robert Butler, second by Judy Fardig 7 – 0 to accept minutes

Introduction of Minutes of April 30, 2008 by Pegee Malcom Motion to accept minutes by Lee Teverow, second by Robert Butler 7 – 0 to accept minutes

Any cemetery signs that are on order are on hold as “non-essential” – may know more after July 1st

Narragansett and Cranston are in the process of starting Cemetery Commissions – volunteers are needed to approach the remaining towns/cities: Providence, North Providence, North Smithfield, Foster, Richmond, Woonsocket, Scituate, Jamestown, Lincoln, and Newport

Steps to register new or found cemeteries

  1. “New” or “found” cemetery is reported to Commission member
  2. Member contacts Roger Beaudry or John Sterling with information including GPS, stones, etc… to verify “new” or “found”
  3. New number given if really a “new” cemetery, or an old one “found”
  4. Member notifies Town Clerk, Planner, and Assessor with particulars to that the town/city can register the cemetery Bruce MacGunnigle suggested that notification of the City/Town Public Works Dept be added

Report by Pegee Malcolm on the status of the remains found in the basement of the Potowomut home

  1. The Forensic Anthropologist determined that the remains are of a female, of African descent, approximately 40 – 70 years old, approximately 4’11’ to 5’2”, who died between 1850 and 1900
  2. PAL conducted a survey of the area outside the home that was to be the location of the garage, but not the basement itself
  3. The forensic anthropologist’s findings, as well as the findings of the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission could not rule out that there were additional bones of the woman found, or additional burials, in the basement
  4. The homeowner, despite his original stated intentions, has sealed up the basement area in concrete
  5. Pegee Malcolm, for the Warwick Historical Cemetery Commission, has contacted multiple City departments, as well as the Mayor, in an attempt to insure that the remainder of the basement be excavated to locate any additional bones that may be there
  6. Various donations have been made for a grave, plaque, etc… to bury the remains
  7. Pegee Malcolm has also conducted a title search, and death records, in an attempt to identify the woman, but has been unable to do so
  8. Suggestions from the Commission members that the Forensic Anthropologist and RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission’s written reports be entered into the city record so that the homeowner will need to finish excavation
  9. Pegee Malcolm will request that the City Solicitor attend the July meeting of the Warwick Historical Cemetery Commission
  10. General discussion that the attitudes of state and local governments, as well as how this impacts the public’s attitudes regarding respect for human remains

Sally Small recommended that the procedure that individuals/companies should follow if remains are found on their property be posted on the Commission’s website to assist people in knowing what to do

  1. RIGL 23-18-11 specifies the procedure
  2. Paul Robinson offered to distribute a document from the RI Historical Preservation and Heritage Commission to commission members for review to see if it would be helpful information to post on the website

Lee Teverow discussed the fact that the computer at the RI Historical Society that has the database on it is not going to last much longer, and that the DOS database only runs on Windows 95, so will need to be converted if a new computer is purchased

  1. Discussion that Kenneth Rahn is currently working on converting the database, but the scope and status of the project is not known
  2. Suggestion by Commission members that Kenneth Rahn be invited to the next Commission meeting to update members

Bruce MacGunnigle discussed an out-of-state ancestor of one of EG’s Historical Cemeteries has a meeting scheduled at the Town Hall the following day. She is insisting that her ancestor’s cemetery be re-numbered to be 10. Mr. MacGunnigle did extensive research on the history of the cemetery, and prepared a report to be attached to the minutes

Pegee Malcolm announced that the Route 37 reburial is scheduled for June 24th – June 27th at Knight Street State Institution Cemetery.

Pegee Malcolm discussed that the Cemetery Commission has an Intern, through the Secretary of State, who is working on recording GPS coordinates under Evelyn Wheeler, Chairwoman’s direction

Sally Small discussed that the next phase of grave restoration, for slate markers, has been coordinated by the Barrington Cemetery Commission for August 18th – 22nd

Motion to close meeting at 8 pm and begin Open Forum by Robert Butler, second by Judy Fardig Two members of the Tiverton Historical Cemetery Commission discussed that the Newport Daily News published an extensive story today regarding member Isobel Hart completed project to create and place concrete footstones for 63 identified burials in the pauper cemetery adjacent to the Tiverton Town Hall

Motion to adjourn at 8:15 by Bruce MacGunnigle, second by Robert Butler. Voted 7 – 0 to adjourn.

Next Meeting: September 17th at 6:30 pm at the West Greenwich Town Hall

Respectfully submitted by Emily Corbett

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Minutes of Meeting April 30, 2008

Glocester Town Hall, Chepachet

In attendance:  Evelyn Wheeler, Judy Fardig, Sally Small, Bruce MacGunnigle, Carolyn Crist-Schwab, Lee Teverow, David Kirchner, Robert Butler

Meeting called to order at 6:35 pm by Evelyn Wheeler, Chairwoman

(1)   Chairwoman Wheeler proposed a vote on the Rules and Regulations

Sally Small suggested several small changes in wording, and all members agreed upon those changes

Finalized Rules and Regulations as follows (noted changes underlined):

  1. Meetings will be held on the 3rd Wednesday of September, November, April and June, and at the call of the Chair for special meetings

  2. Follow most recent Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised if there is an issue

  3. Quorum shall constitute 50% of current membership +1, members must be present and voting

  4. Notice of meetings to be posted on the Secretary of State website in accordance with open meeting laws

  5. Approved minutes of meetings will be posted on the Secretary of State website in accordance with open meeting laws

  6. Members will demonstrate a commitment to the organization’s mission as stated in the GL 23-18.3.1

  7. Members will contribute his/her skills and knowledge

  8. Members will inform him/herself on issues that affect the organization’s goals as stated in the GL 23-18.3.1

  9. Members will not miss more than three consecutive, unexcused meetings

 Chairwoman Wheeler again called for a vote to approve the amended Rules and Regulations.  Voted 8-0 to approve.


(2)   Chairwoman Wheeler distributed the proposed modifications to RI GL 23-18.3-2 that were the result of a meeting with Karen Ellsworth

It was noted by the Commission members that the quorum in the proposed legisla-

tion was written as 11, with the understanding that additional members would be added.  Commission members requested that Chairwoman Wheeler ask that it be modified to read 50% of current membership +1.

Bruce MacGunnigle moved to endorse the proposed legislation with the amendment noted above, with Judy Fardig seconding the motion.

     Voted 8-0 to endorse


(3)   Chairwoman Wheeler read Ron Onorato’s resignation letter to the Commission

Bruce MacGunnigle moved to accept the resignation with regret, with a second by Judy Fardig. 

      Voted 8-0 to accept


(4)   Historical Cemetery Commissions and Boards:  West Warwick Town Council officially approved the Cemetery Commission; Cranston is looking to begin one under the Historical Society or Planning Board


(5)   The Route 37 reburial has been rescheduled to May 31st at 1:00 pm at the North Burial Ground


(6)   Discussion of possible committees:  Promotional and publicity, Volunteer Coordinators, Recruiters for Historical Cemetery Committees

Discussion centered around concerns about cleanups that might be organized, with or without the Commission’s knowledge, and what can be done if folks are not following the proper notification procedure or the “Do’s and Don’ts”


(7)   Motion to adjourn meeting and begin Open Forum at 7:55 pm by Judy Fardig, with a second by Robert Butler

Voted 8-0 to adjourn meeting and begin Open Forum


(8)   Discussion of the damage that tree roots can do in terms of naturally toppling stones


(9)   Thirty volunteers gathered to help the Friends of Smithfield Cemeteries to repair the stones that were toppled in Greenville Cemetery in Smithfield on April 26th.  The vandalized stones were back up in 2 ½ hours!


(10)Benjamin Emerson stone with SAR emblem found in Cumberland


(11)Discussion of a cemetery cleanup in Burriville that is thwarted by neighbors throwing grass clippings into the cemetery repeatedly.  Attendees suggested doing an article in the local paper regarding the problem, and having the local paper print the laws relevant to the fines if stones are covered up.  Other suggestions included making copies of the laws and mailing it to the neighbors that are doing it


Next Meeting:  June 18th in Warren.  Location TBA


Respectfully Submitted by Emily Corbett


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Minutes of Work Session February 27,2008

Buttonwoods Senior Center, Warwick

In attendance:  Evelyn Wheeler, Edna Kent, Roger Beaudry, Judy Fardig, Sally Small, Margaret “Pegee” Malcolm, Bruce MacGunnigle, Carolyn Crist-Schwab

 Meeting called to order at 6:35 pm by Evelyn Wheeler, Chairwoman

 1.  Report from members on Historical Societies or Conservation Commissions

      Below are 24 out of 39 cities/towns:

Charlestown:  Charlestown Conservation Commission – Francis Fenner – 364-9964, Appointed by Town Administrator
Coventry:  Charles Vacca
Cumberland:  Lester Hilton and Michael Scalzi
Exeter:  Town oversees, and Town Council president has to give permission for cleaning
Pawtucket:  DPW
Smithfield:  Friends of Smithfield Historical Cemeteries
Tiverton:  Historical Cemetery Commission under Town Administrator
Warren:  Warren Cemetery Commission – chartered – Judy Fardig
West Greenwich:  West Greenwich Cemetery Commission – Charlene Butler
Westerly:  Westerly Historical Society
Little Compton:  town oversees
South Kingstown:  town oversees through the Town Clerk
Warwick:  Warwick Cemetery Commission under Planning Department
Bristol:  Bristol Historical Cemetery Commission board
East Providence:  East Providence Historical Society – Ray Batcher
Cranston:  City Planning Department
Middletown:  Middletown Historical Society
Burrillville:  Burrillville Historical Society – Ron LaPierre
Barrington has a Cemetery Commission
Hopkinton – Laurie Arruda
Narragansett – Evelyn Wheeler
Block Island/New Shoreham – DPW looks after
Portsmouth – no official group but Herb Hall and Skip Grinnel of Water Dept
West Warwick – soon through Planning Board and Carol Rogers

Sally Small recommended that a complete and updated list (including contact information) be compiled and posted on the website.  A volunteer recruiter is needed to approach the other towns not listed above.

2.      Rules and Regulations that were voted on last time were reviewed, and modifications were recommended

1.  Modify to read:  Meetings will be held on the 3rd Wednesday of September, November, April and June, and at the call of the Chair for special meetings

4.  Modify to read:  Follow most recent Roberts Rules of Order Newly

Revised if there is an issue

5.  It was noted that RIGL 23-18.3.2 states that a quorum shall constitute 11 members.  Chairwoman Wheeler was urged by the Commission members to recommend that the law be changed to 50% of membership +1

3.      Discussion of the Commission’s role when “new” cemeteries are discovered, and what “registering” means.  It was agreed that the Commission’s role is advisory only.

4.      Item (i) of Title 23 states that a chairperson shall be elected annually, and makes no mention of a Vice-Chairperson.  It was agreed that Chairwoman Wheeler will recommend the inclusion of an elected Vice-Chairperson.  Further, the Commission members in attendance agreed to table new elections until September of 2008

5.      Discussion of Ron Onorato’s resignation deferred to next open meeting

6.      Discussion of possible Committees (Promotional, Volunteer Coordinators, Recruiters for each town, School Mentoring) was deferred until a further discussion with Karen Ellsworth on Bylaws can be scheduled

7.      Chairwoman Wheeler discussed RIGL’s that are in the works.  Chairwoman Wheeler, Pegee Malcom, Sally Small, and Carolyn Crist-Schwab will attend a meeting with Karen Ellsworth – date to be determined

8.      Chairwoman Wheeler announced that the Newport County cemetery information index will soon be on the website, thanks to the help of John Sterling and Debbie Nunes

9.      Discussion of Mission and Purpose tabled until further discussion regarding Bylaws

10.  Next Earth Day cleanup is scheduled for April 19th, with a rain date of April 26th.  Chairwoman Wheeler is participating in a large-scale clean-up of Pocasset Cemetery in Cranston, and Cranston has offered dumpsters and volunteers.  Carolyn Crist-Schwab discussed the need for oversight and responsibility of volunteers.

11.  Commission appointments end in September of this year, and members interested in remaining on the Commission should draft a letter of intent.  Chairwoman Wheeler to determine who the letters should be sent to, and will notify Commission members.

 Work session adjourned at 8:25 pm on a motion by Chairwoman Wheeler and a second by Bruce MacGunnigle

 Next meeting:  April 30th at 6:30 pm in Chepachet at the Glocester Town Hall in the Council Chambers

 Respectfully submitted by Emily Corbett

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Minutes of November 28, 2007

Meeting called to order at 6:07 pm

In attendance: Evelyn Wheeler, Edna Kent, Roger Beaudry, Sally Small, Rosemarie Mello, Pegee Malcom, Bruce MacGunnigle, Paul Robinson, Lee Teverow, Dave Kirchner

Old Business: Meeting minutes from October 24, 2007 – several minor corrections were noted Motion to approve minutes with corrections noted: 9 – 0 in favor Next meeting confirmed – April 30th at the Chepachet Senior Center or Town Hall

New Business:

  1. All Commission members are asked to encourage Historical Societies in their communities to start a cemetery committee or an Adopt a Cemetery program Commission Meeting Rules and Regulations discussion
  2. Meetings will be held on a quarterly basis on the last Wednesday of the month and at the call of the Chair for special meetings
  3. Notice of meetings to be posted on the Secretary of State website in accordance with open meeting laws
  4. Minutes of meetings will be posted on the Secretary of State website in accordance with open meeting laws
  5. Follow most recent Roberts Rules of Order if there is an issue
  6. Quorum shall constitute 50% of membership + 1
  7. Members will demonstrate a commitment to the organization’s mission
  8. Members will contribute his/her skills and knowledge
  9. Members will inform him/herself on issues that affect the organization’s goals
  10. Members will attend all meetings, and not miss more than three consecutive, unexcused
  11. Brief discussion of the Commission’s role when new cemeteries are discovered Motion to convene into Executive Session at 7:02 pm: 10 – 0 in favor Quarterly meeting called back into order following Executive Session at 8:00 pm Motion to seal Executive Session meeting minutes: 10 – 0 in favor Motion to table further discussion of the Commission’s role when new cemeteries are discovered: 10 – 0 in favor Discussion regarding the Department of Transportation’s progress with re-interring the remains of 67 individuals from the State Farm cemetery 1
  12. The genealogical notification was run in local newspapers in accordance with the law, and no direct ancestors have come forward to date
  13. Using an 1887 plot map and a main index at the state archives, some individuals without name plates have been identified
  14. The Cranston City Council is scheduled to review the permit to re-inter 65 of the individuals on December 17th Job Corps has 200 students ready to assist in all aspects of cleaning and documenting cemeteries – they will start in Exeter, where they are based, but can expand to other areas of the state:
  15. Repairing stone walls and gates
  16. Debris clean-up and removal
  17. Signage inspection and GPS recording
  18. Program set up to record project
  19. Documenting head stones
  20. Manual will be written for future classes and years Seniors Helping Others (SHO) has 700 volunteers Meeting with Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in December Possible projects for volunteers
  21. Cross referencing burial records from assorted documents
  22. Researching property deeds to find easements or rights of way
  23. Entering information into the computer
  24. Checking cemeteries for disrepair, signage, etc…
  25. Dosing GPS readings of cemeteries
  26. Writing news reports, letters, etc…
  27. Documenting stones
  28. Writing history programs
  29. Writing brochures

Regular meeting adjourned 8:33 pm Open Forum

  1. Discussion regarding construction in Johnston near a historical cemetery
  2. 75 copies of the North Kingstown cemetery book available for $10.00 – call Althea at 295-5684 if interested
  3. Town of West Warwick still looking into the formation of a Cemetery Commission

Meeting adjourned 8:45 pm

Respectfully submitted by Emily Corbett

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Minutes/Work Session Oct. 24, 2007

Old State House, Providence

Present Chairwoman Evelyn Wheeler called the work session to order at 6:40 p.m. Other Commissioners present were Roger Beaudry, Robert Butler (RI League of Cities and Towns), Daniel Evangelista (Veterans Affairs), Judith Fardig, Edna Kent, Margaret “Pegee” Malcolm, Paul Robinson (RIHPC), and Sally Small. Bruce Frail, grant consultant, was also present.

Discussions A discussion was held on the possibility of requesting that each city or town or local historical society contribute $425 each that would be used for a statewide data base benefiting each city and town. The data base would lead to cemetery improvement through graves registration, cemetery documentation, etc. Edna Kent will draft a letter for discussion at the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Chairwoman Wheeler mentioned that the Commission is proceeding with an application for a grant from Preserve Rhode Island, administered through Citizens Bank. Chairwoman Wheeler said such grants are matching and usually total $300 to $1,000.

Bruce Frail submitted a four-page report to Commission members on plans of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War/Department of Rhode Island to restore the St. James/Bernon Cemetery in Woonsocket. Mr. Frail, who serves as graves registration officer and project manager for the SUVCW/Dept. of Rhode Island’s Graves Registration Committee, discussed the report in detail. He estimated the total restoration cost at $139,491 for the 2+-acre cemetery, which had 232 internments, including Henry C. Davis, 17, the first Rhode Island soldier to die in the Civil War.

Chairwoman Wheeler announced that Ron Onorato of Newport has resigned from the Commission.

Chairwoman Wheeler, at the urging of the Commission, will discuss with the state Representatives who filed the bill setting up the Commission the possibility of adding up to four (4) members to the Commission from Providence County. The additional members will be of help with the large amount of historic cemeteries in Providence County. She will also ask the Representatives about the possibility of amending the law creating the Commission to allow for staggered terms and longer terms for members.


Chairwoman Wheeler discussed a suggestion from the Attorney General’s Office that the Commission adopt rules and regulations. Among the suggestions discussed by Commission members were: having a quorum equal fifty (50) percent of Commission members, plus one (1); and for the removal of any Commissioner who misses three (3) consecutive meetings.

Daniel Evangelista discussed Rhode Island Public Law 30-25-12 that calls on the General Assembly to appropriate money from time to time to care for the neglected graves of veterans. He said there might be the possibility of obtaining money for the clearing of graves and their surroundings through the law. He said he will try to determine the last time money was appropriated for such purposes, if ever, and whether money is still in that account, if ever appropriated.

Pegee Malcolm asked about the possibility of obtaining a sign for State Institutional Cemetery #2, where internments are being re-buried. Mr. Evangelista said he would find out.

Adjourment The work session was adjourned at 8:40 p.m. on a motion by Judith Fardig and a second by Daniel Evangelista.

Next Meeting The Commission will meet on Nov. 28 at the Buttonwoods Senior Center, West Shore Road, Warwick. The Commissioners will meet in public from 6:30 to 7 p.m. An executive session will be held at 7 p.m. An open forum session will begin at 7:30 p.m.

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Minutes of September 26, 2007

Meeting called to order at 6:35 pm

Members present: Evelyn Wheeler, Edna Kent, Roger Beaudry, Judy Fardig, , Pegee Malcom, Bruce MacGunnigle, Carolyn Crist-Schwab, Rosemarie Mello, Sally Small, Charlotte Taylor, Robert Butler

Old Business

I. Minutes of Regular Open Meeting June 27, 2007 • Approved 9 -0

New Business

I. Upcoming meeting schedule (all regular meetings will be held the last Wednesday of the month at 6:30 pm)

  • Work Session: October 24th at RIHPC (150 Benefit St. Providence) to coordinate statewide clean-up, discuss rules and regulations for the Commission, and to complete Citizens Bank “Preserve RI” grant application
  • November 28th at Buttonwoods Senior Center, Warwick
  • April 30th: Chepachet Senior Center?
  • May 28th: Warren Senior Center?
  • Sept 24th: West Greenwich?

II. Next statewide clean-up is November 3rd

  • Keep Blackstone Valley Clean and Environmental Services in Providence have offered the use of tools, gloves, bags, etc… to aid in the clean-up
  • Commission is taking suggestions for cemeteries that need cleaning

III. Charlotte Taylor from RIHPC

  • Federal law protects cultural resources of states, but cemeteries are often not eligible for the National Register
  • The RI Cemeteries Act protects cemeteries, but RIHPC does not have direct authority – the Act gives the towns and cities authority
  • RIHPC will write letters to towns/cities regarding the preservation of cemeteries, but their main role is to assist in ensuring that the archaeology is done properly

IV. Discussion regarding Citizens Bank “Preserve RI” grant application ($500 - $1000 match required) due by October 29th

  • State House can help to set up a bank account

V. Report on Book deliveries

  • The general consensus was that the Book was well-received by the majority of the recipients
  • Bristol and Barrington almost complete – need 2 more big books and 1 more small book
  • Burriville, Scituate and Foster are almost complete – 2 more to deliver (Burriville HS and Foster Library)
  • Johnston City Clerk, Portsmouth, Middletown, New Shoreham, Jamestown, Glocester, East Greenwich, Cumberland, Woonsocket, Lincoln, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Barrington, Coventry, Exeter, West Greenwich, Warwick, West Warwick, Cranston, East Providence, North Providence, and South Kingstown are completed
  • Bruce included information on East Greenwich Cemeteries in all the books he delivered

VI. Upcoming Events

  • Senior Fair at Warwick Mall on October 10th 9 – 4 – looking for volunteers to help staff the booth
  • Cultural Fair at Foxwoods on October 20th – looking for volunteers to help staff the booth

VII. Report on West Greenwich Cemetery GPS coordinates project

  • 103 of the 153 recorded cemeteries have been done
  • Work should be completed within the next two months
  • John Sterling and others are assisting with the project

VIII. SUVCW report: Bruce Frail

  • St. James Cemetery in Woonsocket restoration project going well
  • To date, 180 burial locations, including all 14 veterans, have been identified
  • The owner of the property is interested in donating the land, and the hope is to restore the property into a park and cemetery

IX. Individual Town and City Cemetery Commissions

  • Warwick, Tiverton, Coventry, Barrington, Warren, Westerly, Narragansett, Smithfield, Cumberland, and Charlestown all have either a Commission, or a division of their Historical Society that focuses on cemeteries
  • West Warwick is looking at creating a Commission

X. Other New Business

  • Newport Daily News: September 25th did a story on the photographic documentation of the Common Burial Ground in Newport
  • Volunteers are needed for GPS readings of cemeteries to be submitted to RIGIS
  • Planning on coordinating with Hendricken Community Service to get volunteers to help with cemetery clean-ups, etc…
  • Eugene Card (Scituate) looking for volunteers to help get cemetery clean-up debris loaded in a dumpster this weekend – volunteers can contact him by phone

Open Forum

  1. Discussion of the smallpox cemetery located on Naval War College property – attendees were seeking advice on who to contact regarding this cemetery, which is now covered by a tennis court
  2. Common Burial Ground Commission – discussed placement of new sign in 2005 and Newport’s Park Warden involvement
  3. Scituate Library is looking for the full RI Historical Cemeteries database
  4. Attendee interested in doing a documentary on historical cemeteries in RI – requesting advice and contact person suggestions
  5. Barrington Cemetery Commission has a retired teacher who has offered to take photographs of stones
  6. General discussion on the need to document the stones in cemeteries; including transcriptions, photographs, mapping; as much as possible since the stones that are legible now may not be legible 25 years from now
  7. Discussion of a property owner in Newport whose driveway appears to be encroaching on a historical cemetery

Meeting adjourned 8:05 pm

Respectfully Submitted by Emily Corbett

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Minutes of June 27, 2007

Meeting called to order at 6:35 pm

Members present: Evelyn Wheeler, Edna Kent, Roger Beaudry, Judy Fardig, Pegee Malcom, Bruce MacGunnigle, Carolyn Schwab, Rosemarie Mello, Robert Butler.

Old Business

I. Minutes of work session on May 30, 2007 • Approved 9 -0 to waive reading of the minutes, Accepted 9-0

II. Report on findings for contacts at town halls regarding cemeteries 1 Distributed form for noting any additional contacts, returned to Evelyn

New Business

I. Discussion regarding next year’s meeting schedule 1 Approved 9-0 to continue moving location around state 2 Approved 8-1 to continue holding the meetings at 6:30 pm on last Wednesday of the month

II. Books are ready for commission members to be delivered to their counties. • A copy will go to each Town/City Clerk, Assessor, Planner, Historical Society (if applicable), and Library. • Separate copy to each Town/City Department of Public Works and Police Department • Books will be delivered to the above personally and each commission member will make note of the delivery.

III. Discussion regarding opening a checking acct for Tax Exempt app • Voted 9-0 to go through the Secretary of State and check into Certified Local Government status

IV. Discussion on a Fall Cleanup state-wide • Approved 9-0 to schedule one for the first week of November

V. Report on State House visit by Pegee and Evelyn • 9 Ordinances were presented to Karen Ellsworth, Counsel for the Finance Commission • Informed that ordinances involving giving descendants right of way to pass and re-pass on private property were not going to be approved • Two were on the calendar, but were passed over and will be reintroduced next session. Others will be reintroduced also.

VI. Other New Business • Bruce MacGunnigle distributed References to Cemetery, Cemeteries, Burial, and Burials in East Greenwich, RI, Charter, Comprehensive Plan and Ordinances

Open Forum

Representation from Chepachet, Pawtucket, Johnston, Smithfield, North Smithfield, East Greenwich, Cumberland

I. Don Gagnon, Chair of the North Smithfield Conservation Commission thanked the Commission and Edna for their assistance with helping to get the “mystery mounds” registered and stopping a developer from building on the site

II. West Greenwich Town Planner working on recording all historical cemeteries on Plat maps, and considering making the cemeteries a separate lot, having separate ownership for them, or including deeded access to them

III. Coventry is developing a Historical Cemetery Commission similar to the existing Warwick Historical Cemetery Commission

IV. Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War are working on a clean-up and fixing 90 stones at Intervale Cemetery North Providence.

V. Offer to assist by publishing article/photos regarding vandalism and needed clean-ups

VI. Representative from Rhode Island Historical Society Library brought a patron request for information on Potters Fields in RI – many attendees provided information

VII. Discussion regarding the work that the Friends of Smithfield Cemeteries is doing with cleaning up cemeteries, documentation of before and after photos, and logging GPS coordinates

VIII. Question from a Chepachet resident regarding a cemetery that abuts her backyard and impact on a property owner behind hers request to build an access road to his property through hers because his property is land locked and the access road would go right next to the cemetery.

IX. Blackstone Valley Tourism, as part of “Project Clean America” will provide loaner equipment and supplies to assist in cemetery cleanups

Next Meeting: September 26, 2007 6:30 pm at the Newport Public Library Meeting adjourned 7:55 pm

Respectfully Submitted by Emily Corbett

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