I received a wonderful Letter and some pictures this week from Barbara May. Barbara was one of the very first 'Cousins' that my family met when we made our first visit to Danville to discover more about our family history in 1984. She introduced us to Brenda Edwards from the Advocate Newspaper and the result was a wonderful afternoon in Constitution Park in Danville and a full page article with pictures in the Sunday Edition of the paper. Brenda and Barbara made us feel very welcome and were so gracious and helpful, it made our family feel very special.
We were all from central Michigan and descendants of James Franklin Pipes who was born in 1876 on a farm on Ben Minor Ridge Road to Obediah Brumfield Pipes and Josephine Bonaparte Edwards. James was my grandfather and migrated to Michigan in the early 1920s to work for General Motors.
There were few people named Pipes in Michigan and to say we were disconnected from our roots would be an understatement.
That has changed over the years since that day in 1984 and my family will always remember Barbara and Brenda and how they helped us renew that connection to our roots in Kentucky.
Barbara sent me news this week about the Cemetery and the restoration of the largest monument in the cemetery. The monument is for Nathan Waters Pipes and his wife Keziah (Brand) 'Kizzie' Pipes. This monument had been leaning preciptiously for many years due to the foundation shifting and the ravages of the wind and weather. A company from Stanford was hired and they brought in a large crane to take the stone down and then a new foundation was poured. The smaller stones were also reset on new foundations and while she was at it, Barbara had them make bases and then mounted the previously broken stones for the parents of Nathan Waters, Nathaniel Pipes and Margaret Harmon.
On our first trip to Union Cemetery in 1984, Nathan and Keziah's monument was standing tall and proud but the smaller stones for Nathaniel and Margaret were down and broken. Now they are all standing up again and thanks to Barbara May they are resting close and protected and where they belong.
Also in the family plot is the stone and resting place for Mallie Pipes, the young daughter of Nathan and Keziah who passed away in 1874 at 13 years old.
Barbara is considering repairs for the wrought iron fence around the plot and proper landscaping for the area inside the fence. These fences are very difficult to repair and maintain and suffer greatly from vandals, weather and intruding cattle. Many of them in the cemetery have been damaged.
This is the best news I have heard about the cemetery in some time and we should be forever grateful to Barbara for personally making this happen.
Please consider a donation to the Family Association fund for restoring these old stones. Robbie Mayes is making a concerted effort to repair and reset the ones that can still be worked with. The address is on the main page.