ELMORE - Many of the tombstones in Harrington Cemetery are crumbling around the edges, and the names etched into the stone monuments have worn smooth after decades of wind and rain.
More than 300 veterans are buried beneath these decaying stones. Some Elmore residents are trying to ensure that these veterans' names will be clearly displayed for future generations to read and remember.
Councilman Rick Claar is working with resident Charlie Schneider to plan a monument honoring veterans buried in Elmore who fought in wars before 1900 and in battles in Mexico under U.S. General John J. Pershing in 1916.
“I think these vets deserve some recognition, even if it is 150 years late,” Mr. Schneider said.
The town has a headstone and flagpole in front of the Harris-Elmore Library dedicated to veterans of the two world wars. Mr. Claar and Mr. Schneider want to pay homage to veterans of earlier wars with a marker in Veterans' Park at the corner of Rice and Fremont streets.
The monument will exhibit plaques naming all the veterans buried in Elmore who fought in the Revolutionary War, War of 1812, Civil War, Spanish-American War, or battles against Mexican bandits led by Pancho Villa in 1916.
“It's definitely a project we're going to do, one way or another,” Mr. Claar said. “It's on my top project list for next year.”
Using research compiled by Norma Eaton, a member of the Ottawa County Genealogical Society, Mr. Schneider was able to catalog 306 veterans buried in the Harrington, Union, and Rymers cemeteries in Elmore.
Ms. Eaton of Port Clinton has spent more than 10 years researching veterans who lived, fought, or died in Ottawa County. Mr. Schneider said he was thrilled when he found some of her work in the Harris-Elmore Public Library.
Mr. Schneider may update his records with help from Ms. Eaton, who is still adding names to her list of 2,700 veterans. She has traveled to Washington to review old newspaper articles and court records.
“I've got so much research that I don't think I should just give it up,” she said. “I'm hoping to have a book published.”
While Ms. Eaton toils at her historical research, Mr. Claar has a daunting task ahead - securing money for the Elmore veterans' monument.
“We're going to do some politicking,” he said.
The Elmore sesquicentennial fund has about $3,000 extra that will help pay for the monument, Mr. Claar said. He said he will ask local veterans' groups, the city, and the Ottawa County commissioners for additional funding.
Mayor Lowell Krumnow said he supports the project and hopes to see it completed next year. He said he expects that city hall will contribute money to the effort.
“We want to make sure these veterans are not forgotten.”