Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Check Out McCord Cemetery on Find A Grave

I highly recommend that anyone with an interest in the McCord Cemetery check out the "virtual" cemetery at the Find A Grave website ( Our extraordinary volunteers have been working overtime to create what is perhaps the most well-documented cemetery on this popular website. Jeanne has posted a memorial for every known burial at McCord (all 261!), many with headstone photos, biographies and/or obituaries. A very special "thank you" goes to Lemar and Linda for the photography. With some of the older stones starting to deteriorate, their photographs help preserve these images for all time. When genealogist have questions about birth or death dates, there's nothing like seeing it "set in stone!"

Linda & Lemar at McCord, standing behind the stones for Joseph Thompson Williams (1818-1894) and his wife Drusilla Ann Knight (1829-1873). I had given up ever finding these headstones! Many thanks to Linda & Lemar!

To locate McCord at Find A Grave, you can click on this link ( or simply go to and click on "search for a cemetery" and enter McCord, Illinois, Montgomery County. From there, you can enter a specific name you are looking for, or browse through all of the burials at McCord.

I hope that other family history researchers can find a long-sought "treasure" here like I did!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

First Meeting

The first meeting of Restore McCord was a rousing success! Seventeen wonderful people showed up, all interested in how this historic cemetery could be restored. Some of the exisiting ideas were endorsed and some new ideas (like a new cemetery sign) were brought up. Here is a photo (courtesy of Lemar Hartman) of the attendees.

We are now working on our next steps: what should be done now, what should wait until spring. It's exciting to see how many people want to help with this effort!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Progess Report

The first meeting of the Restore McCord group is this afternoon at the Century House in Irving. I thought this would be a good day to review what's already been done!

A master list of interments has been created, based on a compilation of cemetery readings conducted in 1946, 1980 and 1985, as well as purchase receipts for burial plots and a few obituaries. Special thanks to volunteer Jeanne Johnson for all of the hours she spent compiling this list. We will be working to make the master list more complete and accurate as our work continues.

Memorials for 261 individuals buried at McCord have been posted at the “Find A Grave” website ( When available, photos of headstones, obituaries or portraits can be posted here, as well as “virtual” flowers and notes. Again, Jeanne Johnson has been the driver of this effort.

The cemetery has been cleared of brush and brambles in the past few months. I posted some before and after photos previously, and they are amazing! A huge swath of brush and brambles were cleared away, giving us access to parts of the cemetery that were nearly impossible to reach. A big “thank you” to Dale and Keith Walcher, who have accomplished all of this.

While we’re hoping that much of our work will be done by volunteers, we have started fundraising to support the future efforts of Restore McCord. Our gratitude goes out to our generous supporters:

Molly & Todd Bennington
Haidee & Samuel Morehead
Kimberly Goetz
Marilyn & Galen Strain
Lemar Hartman
Joyce & Rich Williams
Jeanne Johnson
Irving Area Historical Museum
Sarah Lee
Village of Irving
Mark Paden

The idea for Restore McCord was sparked in late August of this year. Look at all that has been accomplished in a little over 2 months! As more and more volunteers get involved, just imagine what we can do by this time next year!

Friday, October 30, 2009

8 Days to Meeting in Irving

The 1st meeting of Restore McCord is coming up in just 8 days! I can't wait to meet other people who share our interest in restoring this historic cemetery. I'm also hoping to meet some people who have already contributed their time and/or money to our cause. It'll be great to thank them in person!

This may be our first meeting, but the work is already well underway. So much has been accomplished! Just look at some "before & after" photos that demonstrate how the cemetery has been cleared of brush and brambles. (Photos courtesy of Lemar Hartman.)

August 2009

October 2009

Sunday, October 18, 2009

McCord Cemetery Internments Now on Find-A-Grave

Jeanne Johnson has submitted the internments at McCord to the Find-a-Grave website. There are 255 total internments from 3 cemetery readings, plus some from the Montgomery County death index that were reported as buried at McCord but are not in the readings. Please note that not every burial will have its own marker, but each has its own memorial page in the McCord Cemetery at Find-a-Grave.

Restore McCord will be conducting another reading in the near future, including photographs of each marker. Following that reading, any necessary changes will be made in the Find-a-Grave records and the photos will be posted.

Many, many thanks to Jeanne for dedicating her time to this project! Please check out the fruits of her labor at

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Why McCord Needs Our Help

I could write an entire article about why every cemetery deserves our attention. The recent scandals at Burr Oak cemetery in Chicago demonstrate how deeply people care about the final resting places of their loved ones. But of all the old and neglected cemeteries in this country, why McCord? My husband and I first became aware of McCord because several of his distant ancestors are buried there. And when we went to visit there last August, we couldn't even reach the section where they were buried. The brambles and brush and bees kept us away. We also saw several toppled and broken headstones, each of which represents a person, a family, and part of the history of Illinois and our country.

McCord, formerly known as Old Bear Creek cemetery, is one of the oldest cemeteries in Illinois. Veterans from the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Black Hawk War and Civil War are buried there. The gravestones at McCord reflect the pioneer history of Illinois and we should honor them. Restore McCord was formed to do just that, by restoring as many of the headstones as we can locate, and maintaining the cemetery grounds so that family members, descendents, and genealogists are able to visit the site. We will be also posting the results of our cemetery readings and photos of each headstone for the benefit of people who cannot visit in person.

Follow this blog for updates and come to our first meeting on Saturday, November 7th at 3:00 pm. We'll be gathering at the Century House in Irving to talk about our progress to date and discuss what still needs to be done. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

New Group Forms to Restore Cemetery

I am very excited to announce the formation of "Restore McCord," a new group dedicated to repairing, restoring and maintaining McCord (or "Old Bear Creek") Cemetery, located in Irving Township, Montgomery County, Illinois. The new group is being formed under the auspices of the Irving Area Historical Society. Our first meeting will be held on Saturday, November 7, 3pm at the Century House, 117 E. Union, in Irving. The meeting is open to the public, so come and join us! If you can't make it, I will be updating this blog on our progress, so check back in!