December 9, 2004
Cemetery Is Main Topic Of Discussion At December City Council Meeting
The Memphis Cemetery was the main topic of discussion at the December 2 meeting of the Memphis City Council. The graveyard was the center of a law change and also was subject of the monthly update for the 2005 Memorial Day event, “Help Bring John Home”.
The board of aldermen passed Bill No. 04-11, a resolution authorizing the city’s right to reversionary rights in certain interment graves located in the city cemetery.
The new ordinance authorized the mayor, on behalf of the city, to authorize reversion of parcels in the city cemetery to the City of Memphis when the rights to the property are not disposed in the former owner’s last will and testament, nor are claimed by the deceased’s heirs.
A notice of any city action taken to revert property rights to the city, must be published in the local newspaper allowing interested parties 30 days to file claims. Once the reversion process is completed, the lot(s) will be the property of the city without refund of the purchase price.
The city council also received an update from local and national representatives working on the “Help Bring John Home” project that will celebrate the return of the remains of Civil War veteran Corporal John Peyton Byrne. Byrne’s remains will be laid to rest in the Memphis Cemetery in a Memorial Day 2005 ceremony that is expected to bring thousands of visitors to the community.
Leann Russell gave the council a report on the November 6 event at the cemetery when Byrne family members and Civil War re-enactors performed a dedication ceremony with the installation of Byrne’s headstone.
Russell stated that James Parker had photographed the event and the pictures will be incorporated into a logo and slogan for promoting the upcoming event and in commemorative T-shirts. She added that a Quincy, IL, filmmaker is preparing a documentary covering the entire process. Randy Dickerman of Guardian Angel film company was present for the November ceremony and was able to do interviews with numerous family members while also filming the headstone dedication. He will have copies of the completed film available for sale next summer.
Following this gathering a third planning meeting was held by organizers.
Patricia Mullinix noted that the group has updated contact lists on the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War at www.duvcw.org.
She also noted that the group had accepted the loan of a 1861 funeral hearse to be used for the burial procession. The high school shop class at Green City R-I School is building the wooden coffin. Organizers will limit wreath layers during the ceremony to the Five Allied Order’s descendant’s organizations and representatives from the five modern day armed forces.
Lonnie Dover has been placed in charge of making necessary flags. The flag to be draped on the coffin will be a 35-star replica in honor of the Byrne family, which helped earn statehood for the 35th state, West Virginia.
Mullinix reported that firewood for the re-enactors encampments has been donated as have plastic water barrels and trash containers for the cemetery. The group is also in discussions to have partial or full donation of necessary rental port-a-potties. Walt and Linda Marlowe have donated use of a piece of land to be used for an encampment area.
Organizers have been considering the creation of a special edition newspaper for free distribution to all visitors. The publication would contain educational information on the history of the community and would be paid for via the sale of advertising. Workers also are considering printing commemorative ribbons, period funeral cards and donation envelopes to be available at Payne Funeral Chapel during the 24-hour vigil. Planners are also seeking church groups and local organizations to set up and run food stands and refreshment sales for visitors.
A memorial fund has been established at the Community Bank of Memphis.
The council asked organizers to continue providing monthly updates for the event.
The council enacted a resolution opening the official filing period for city elected offices. The filing period will begin December 14 at 8:00 a.m. and will close January 18, 2005 at 5:00 p.m. Candidates interested in filing for the position of east ward or west ward alderman or city collector, can do so during this period at City Hall.
The terms of West Ward Alderman Lucas Remley and East Ward Alderman Ron Gardner will expire following the April 5, 2005 municipal election.
The council appointed Mayor Ron Alexander to serve on the Northeast Missouri Solid Waste Management governing board representing the city.
Alderman Lucas Remley addressed the city’s hay contract at Lake Show-Me. He indicated there was confusion when the service was bid, as one mower had submitted a bid with a price for each bale, while the second bidder had submitted a 50/50 price as is typical for baling services. The council voted 4-0 that new bids will be requested and a new contract will be signed following the process at the February meeting.
Mayor Alexander read a letter from Memphis resident Jim McClintic noting his concerns about deteriorating conditions in Memphis, numerous unsightly properties and abandoned vehicles that are detracting from the natural beauty of the community.
Alexander noted that the issue had been discussed at the November meeting when the Chamber of Commerce suggested some form of community-wide clean up.