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Zeal for Mt Zion: WR Cemetery, 2018

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Over the last two years, Mt. Zion Cemetery in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas has been completely transformed. A dozen trees, over fifty shrubs, and thousands of flowering bulbs have been planted, while the majority of gravestones in the cemetery have been cleaned and over a third have been repaired, all at no cost to the public! A new website for the cemetery has been established as well, at

The cemetery’s upward trajectory continued this year with world-class lawn care provided on a volunteer basis by WR resident Bill Young and the installation of intricate iron fencing donated by Casey’s General Store in WR, salvaged from the former Higginbotham Funeral Home that formerly occupied their property. Approximately 260 feet of fencing were salvaged, which even at a low estimate of $25 a foot would have cost upwards of $6500 at retail value. Half of the fencing was used for a 3’ tall border on the eastern side of the cemetery and the other half was used for 5’ ft tall enclosures around groups of gravestones in the interior of Mt. Zion.

Despite these generous donations of time and material, there were inevitably costs along the way. The thick grass in the cemetery broke several mower belts this season, which added up quickly and compounded the other costs of fuel and trimmer line. The donated century-old iron fencing required spare parts to be purchased from its manufacturer, time-consuming welding repairs, lots of Quikrete for footings, and a thorough repainting. As part of that project, on-site welding repairs were also undertaken on Mt. Zion's historic 1880s Pinnell plot fence as well. Walnut Ridge resident Jerry Gibbens graciously offered to help offset the expenses for the fence work, but he shouldn't have to bear the brunt of the cost alone.

Our goal for this campaign is to raise $3000 by December 31, consisting of $600 to offset Bill Young’s mowing expenses for the year and $2400 to offset Jerry Gibbens’ expenses for iron fence repairs. Any additional funds raised will be earmarked for 2019 mowing expenses and/or the proposed new cemetery gateway pictured below. Donations will not be tax-deductible this year since the cemetery association hasn’t yet been able to apply for federal nonprofit status, but all donations will be much appreciated nonetheless.

All in all, the cemetery serves not only as a final resting place for more than 300 people, but also as a prominent landmark near the entrance to Williams Baptist University and a place of tranquil beauty in Northeast Arkansas. We would appreciate your support of this fundraiser as well as the Association itself in the years ahead, as we seek to bring some zeal to Mt. Zion!
Edward Harthorn,
Corresponding Secretary
Mt. Zion Cemetery Association

Just one of many instances of Bill Young's dedication and commitment to Mt. Zion: one day this spring he took it upon himself to flatten all of the moleholes in the cemetery that had popped up.

The historic fence salvaged from the Casey's General Store property, installed on the eastern side of the cemetery.

One of the wrought iron fence enclosures that were installed in the interior of the cemetery, echoing historic plot fences elsewhere in the cemetery.

A visualization of the proposed new cemetery gateway for Mt. Zion Cemetery (if extra funds are raised)!


Mt. Zion Cemetery Association
Walnut Ridge, AR

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