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Repairing & Resetting Markers

Your donations are making a BIG difference so please continue to help when you can. There will be many more exciting improvements to come in all three of Selma’s historic cemeteries

Before & After

Live Oak Cemetery Div D Lot 22

Broken grave markers from mid 1800's found in Old Live Oak Cemetery Selma, AL
Mid 1800 grave markers repaired and reset by Cemetery Preservation Group, Inc

Here are a couple of before and after photos as our work continues in Selma’s cemeteries.

We feel that these cemeteries are a snapshot of our community’s heritage and history, as well as proud and permanent outdoor museums that provide peace and solitude. These irreplaceable cemeteries are valuable resources, with a combination of architecture,

sculpture, landscape, wildlife, genealogy and poetry that makes them like no other place in our historic environment.

Thank you to Lesley Mashburn for his amazing marker repairs and to others who have helped create new bases for many of the markers.

Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying: “the condition of a cemetery says a lot about the people living in the community”.

Live Oak Cemetery

"Sweet Little Harrie" Edwards - aged 13 Months

Broken grave marker discovered

After clearing the grass and leaves off of Little Harrie Edward's headstone we decided it needed to be standing up as it was originally. We had no way of knowing that the headstone was 6 inches thick and very heavy.

We elevated the marble slab using graved and period bricks from the 1800s to help preserve it.

We decided Little Harrie needed a brick base under his marble slab like the adjoining markers. After the base was completed we began piecing the marble  slab back together.

Under the grave marker we found a large marble slab

Upon lifting the headstone we discovered the damaged marble slab that made up his original grave site. 

Cracks repaired and headstone installed

After many hours of tedious work "Sweet Little Harrie" can once again be proud of his gravesite. 

Uncovering all of the parts to this child's grave marker

After careful excavation we uncovered all the pieces of his original grave marker buried under 6 inches of topsoil that had accumulated over 157 years.

Harrie Edwards Headstone after cleaning and reset

Your Donations make this work possible. Thank You for your continued support.


Anton Kroetel grave marker before repair
Joanna R Kroetel grave marker before repair
Eugenia Kroetel grave marker before repair

Anton Kroetel

Joanna R. Kroetel

Eugenia Kroetel

Anton Kroetel grave marker after repair
Joanna R Kroetel grave marker after repair
Eugenia Kroetel grave marker after repair


Live Oak Cemetery
Another very interesting week in the cemeteries here in Selma, AL. This is the Kroetel family who immigrated to Selma in the early to mid 1800’s not long after Alabama had become a state. Mr. Kroetel is mentioned in the book, “Selma; her institutions and her men”,  by John Hardee, as a boot and shoe maker. The couple is also mentioned in the records of First Presbyterian Church in Selma, AL. which was built in 1847. All three of their markers had been broken. The pictures show “Before” and “After” the repairs BUT infilling the cracks and more cleaning are yet to be completed.

As you will see in the inscriptions below the little girl died on the day she was born and her mother died two days later from what must have been complications from child birth. Mr. Kroetel evidently remarried and passed away within 3 years. I will have to do more research to determine what happened to his second wife and the other three children mentioned below.

From their grave markers:

Anton Kroetel “Born in Attenburg Kingdom, Sax., May 2, 1825, Died Aug 3, 1860,
Aged 35 years, 3 mos, 1 day, He left a wife and three children to mourn his loss. Farewell my wife and children all, From you a father, Christ doth call. Mourn not for me it is in vain To call me to your sight again.”

Joanna R. Kroetel “consort of A. Kroetel, born July 16, 1820, and died Aug. 29, 1857,
aged 37 years, 1 mo. And 13 days.”

Eugenia Kroetel “Infant daughter of A. & J.R. Kroetel, born Aug. 27, 1857, and died same day.”

What is the meaning of “consort”?
“On older stones, the term consort or relict was used to describe the woman's marital status. From the 17th through 19th centuries, consort was usually used on the graves of women, although a man could also be a consort. ... Consort meant that Joanna was Anton's spouse and died before her husband did.”

Grave markers in need of repair


John Kay Lapsley after repair

After:      John Kay Lapsley

John Pratt Lapsley after repair

John Pratt Lapsley

Lapsley Family: Two Little Brothers - Before/ After

It was so exciting to see these two fallen markers being cleaned and reinstalled by a professional archeologist today. .

“John Kay son of James W. and S.E. Lapsley Born Jan 25, 1871, died Mar 31, 1872”

“John Pratt infant son of James W. and Sarah E. Lapsleydied May 18, 1875, aged 20 months”

D2 Cleaning Solution will continue to make these markers brighter over the next 21 days as it works its way into the microscopic pores of the stone

Wise Family: Two more little brothers.

Broken tablet marker dislodged from base.
Standing up base of grave marker
Base Installation completed.
Wilborn Lee and William Amon repaired and reset

Thanks to your generous donations work continues as repairs are made to the marker of Wilborn Lee Wise born Aug. 30, 1863 died Aug. 2, 1865. We still have a lot of cleaning to do to completely restore this marker. We are also working on the marker belonging to his infant brother William Amon Wise “who departed this life April 13, 1857, aged 1 year and 12 days”.

As I work in these cemeteries I am amazed at the number of tourists that come through daily. Selma will continue to benefit from the tax revenue these tourists generate in the form of sales tax and lodging tax. While some stay in Montgomery, there are many who choose to spend the night in Selma.

As we continue to restore these three cemeteries we hope to attract even more tourists. Please continue to donate your time or financially when you can to help improve Selma.


You are making a difference!

Lorenzo Harrison Memorial Gardens

Repaired, cleaned, leveled and reset marker of Monroe Collins.

Headstone before reset in Lorenzo Harrison Memorial Gardens
Headstone before cleaning in Lorenzo Harrison Memorial Gardens
Marker cleaned and reset in Lorenzo Harrison Memorial Gardens

Repairing plaque honoring George and Belzora Miner Baker - Dallas Avenue entrance to Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, AL.

Resetting historic plaque at entrance to Old Live Oak Cemetery Selma, AL
damaged historic plaque at entrance to Old Live Oak Cemetery Selma, AL
Crack in cemetery entrance column
Resetting historic plaque at entrance to Old Live Oak Cemetery Selma, AL
Resetting historic plaque at entrance to Old Live Oak Cemetery Selma, AL
Resetting historic plaque at entrance to Old Live Oak Cemetery Selma, AL

Emergency work has begun on one of the columns at the entrance to Live Oak Cemetery here in Selma, AL. The column cracked and the large marble plaque honoring George and Belzora Miner Baker was about to fall out. We caught it in time and hope to have it as good as new shortly. A big THANK YOU to “L” and Rusty for their expertise and quick response.

Update: Oct. 7, 2019 Work completed. Cleaning plaque will continue.

Completed resetting historic plaque at entrance to Old Live Oak Cemetery Selma, AL

Lorenzo Harrison Memorial Gardens, Selma, AL. 

Knocked out of alignment:  Cleaning and straightening headstones as well as raking leaves and debris. Headstones had been hit by lawnmowers and knocked out of alignment.

Markers dislodged by lawn mowers
Grave markers cleaned and restored

Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, AL


From lying down covered with grass to cleaned, reassembled, leveled and standing tall.

Edmond Nickel was born September, 1810 in Grand Duchy of Baden which was a state in the southwest German Empire on the east bank of the Rhine. It existed between 1806 and 1918. For more info see link:

Mr. Nickel somehow ended up being buried in Selma, AL after his death on July 13, 1866.
I am sure there is an interesting story we would all love to hear.
Note: The D/2 Biological Solution will continue to clean this marker for several more weeks. It will also prevent any growth from returning for a year or more.


Thanks again for your donations that make it possible for us to clean, repair and reset markers in all three of Selma’s cemeteries. Stay tuned.... You will see more exciting things happening in the coming months.


Update: Traci Müller Rylands reports that Edmond was a grocer, according to census records. He and his wife, Madeline, only had one daughter named Louise. When Edmond died in 1866, Louise was about nine. She married William Gunter in 1883 and died in 1909. She is buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Montgomery. Madeline’s fate eluded me.

Edmond Nickel grave marker Before After
KT Forney Old Live Oak Cemetery Before Repair
KT Forney Old Live Oak Cemetery After Repair

December 2019, Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, AL

Before and After

K.T. Forney 2-1/2 yrs old

Patterson grave marker before repair
Obelisk broken into many pieces
Obelisk during repair
Obelisk after repair

Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, AL

The Patterson children.

Their obelisk was broken into many pieces. Once repaired it stood over 8 feet tall.

Reff died November 4, 1865 @ 5 years old. 

Laura died June 5, 1883 @ 14 years old.

Nellie died June 16, 1883 @ 16 years old.

Note: Nellie died 11 days after Laura probably from some highly contagious illness.

Live Oak Cemetery - We were able to locate most of the pieces to this cradle grave marker. Cleaned and restored almost like new.

Cemetery Preservation Group before repair
Cemetery Preservation Group after repair

Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, AL.

Cemetery Preservation Group before repair of Shell Grave
Grave marker after repair and reset.
Grave marker after repair and reset.

“Seashell Grave” that we discovered in Live Oak Cemetery. It appears this encroaching tree caused the marker to fall over and broke the cross many years ago. Repairs have been made and cleaning will continue until the marker is almost like new.

I cannot make out the year yet but it appears to be in the early 1800's. Cora Adelaide Wyatt died at the age of 10 years old.

Live Oak Cemetery, Selma, AL

Cemetery Preservation Group before repair


Cemetery Preservation Group after repair

1874 was a sad year for many families in Selma. William Park and Mary Alice Isbell Armstrong placed this obelisk in memory of three of their children:

Naomi died 15 Oct 1874 (age 5)

James Isbell died 27 Oct 1874 (age 6)

Rutelia died 14 Dec 1874 (age 3)

I cannot imagine the heartache these parents experienced as three of their young children died just weeks apart.

Stained glass window depicts three young siblings surrounded by Jesus.

The stained glass window at Cornerstone Presbyterian depicts these three children surrounded by Jesus. The only child that survived was sent to the Harper home, known as The Oaks, because it was on a hill outside of Selma to the West.


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