Scout Troop 2 cleans up Historic Harmony Cemetery

Published 6:55 pm Tuesday, September 22, 2020

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter 

HELENA — Helena’s Scout Troop 2 spent the better part of the day Saturday, Sept. 12 working together to clean up the Historic Harmony Cemetery.

The cemetery, built in the early 1800s, served as a pauper’s cemetery for former slaves, coal miners, poor people and there are several unmarked graves. The graveyard has gone without maintenance for several years and was in desperate need of the work.

According to Scoutmaster Lane Tolbert, community member Dawn Lawson came to the troop with the idea, and the troop jumped at the opportunity to take on the project.

“Doing projects like this gives the scouts the feeling of doing the right thing for the right reason,” Tolbert explained. “No one is taking care of the cemetery, which is a bridge to the past. It has been forgotten by us. When Ms. Lawson mentioned it, we knew it required nothing but time, and we have plenty of time right now.”

Tolbert was unable to attend the cleanup, however, he said that the Assistant Scoutmaster Barry Winn led the team of more than 20 scouts, parents and Lawson, who spent the day from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. clearing brush, weed-eating, mowing and other manual labor to restore the graveyard.

“I know the boys loved it,” Tolbert said. “They are really good kids.”

The troop plans on returning soon to potentially restore some of the crosses and to fill in some of the sunken graves.

“Great community service projects like this make sure the site is not forgotten and receives the care and maintenance it deserves,” Helena Mayor Mark Hall said. “This years cleanup was extra hard due to the rains and heat that made the brush and weeds grow very heavily.”

They plan on going back in October to do some more work.”