The Centennial Booklet is just full of information. Facts, almost entirely correct, are there for the reading! This last post from the booklet (well, there might be some ads that will appear from time to time… ads from businesses no longer here) is about the Fairview Cemetery.
The lore is that people were using the area to bury their loved ones before it became officially the community’s cemetery. Once the cemetery was organized in April 1864 according to the by-laws, many of the burials in family plots were moved here. In some cases only the stones were moved. Also, some of the church cemeteries moved their interments for reburial. The Presbyterian Church in the Village was one that did so.
The cemetery is designed to be a quiet, peaceful haven. It has circles, mounds, a teardrop, etc., all with wide grassy paths around the earth formations for cars to navigate. At the entry, is a teardrop formation that is kept looking lovely by the Fair View Garden Club. Also at the entry is the Chapel.
In 1976 the Fairview Community Council voted to sponsor a year of activities to celebrate the nation’s Bicentennial. They set a goal, to raise enough funds through donations and fundraisers to repair the Chapel. They believed it was as old as the cemetery, but, surprise! A daily journal belonging to Elizabeth Hess Turner revealed that it was built in the summer of 1902. The first time it was used was for the services held for J. C. Thornton. The last time it was used for that purpose was during the severe winter of 1944-45.
Since 1976 the Chapel has been open to the public for viewing following the Memorial Day Parade that ends at the Soldiers’ Monument in the cemetery. It also was used once for an art exhibit and a wedding. In addition, for many years the Fairview School District has planned an early June tour of the Sturgeon House, the Chapel and a short tour of some of the more historic gravestones for all second grade students.
The Chapel was built for the convenience of families “who would travel long distances by horse and buggy to attend the graveside services of their deceased,” stated an article published in the Cosmopolite on August 14, 1975. The building was heated by a coal stove. A further convenience was the addition of two small rooms on the back side, serving the same function as outhouses. There was no running water. And when the weather was so bad and the ground was so frozen that graves could not be dug by hand, up to three caskets could be stored under the stage in the Chapel.
That same article mentions that veterans from every war, beginning with the Revolution up to that time, are buried in the cemetery. Today that list now includes Vietnam veterans as well. Some of the stones tell the story of where and when a service man gave his all.
Some cemeteries of old were locations for family picnics. Families, wanting to visit and/or decorate their loved ones’ graves, would bring a blanket, a basket of food and settle down near a grave to eat. Whether the Fairview Cemetery was ever host to such a scene is not known, but the shade trees and the ambiance seem to suggest that such gatherings could have been in its history.