`We just told them there's a surprise,' says Helen Kaverman, a cemetery board member, speaking of the kin of Delphos' founder. Next to her stands the newly discovered 145-year-old monument to the Rev. John Otto Bredeick the family members will see on their visit on Aug. 1.
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DELPHOS, Ohio - It weighs about 10,000 pounds, includes 10 major pieces, and serves as an important part of Delphos' history.
So when workers at St. John's Cemetery last month unexpectedly unearthed the original 145-year-old monument of the town's founder, the Rev. John Otto Bredeick, they were delighted with their find.
“When we got one of the pieces with a marking on it, we could read it and we knew what it was,” recalled Larry Carder, the cemetery's superintendent. “This was his original stone.”
Workers weren't sure why the large monument was buried several feet underground at the cemetery's edge. But they worked quickly to make sure the memorial would again have a prominent place of display.
Mr. Carder and Mark Odenweller, another cemetery employee, called a local construction company and asked if they would pull Father Bredeick's monument from the ground with a backhoe.
Then, workers with a monument company spent weeks carefully cleaning each of the pieces. The monument can be deciphered in most places, though the writing is weathered and is sprinkled with German and Latin.
Father Bredeick, who was the first pastor of St. John's Catholic Church in Delphos, was born in 1798 in Verl, Westphalia, Germany. He is credited with naming Delphos in 1851.
The recently discovered monument was erected at the cemetery at the time of his death in 1858.
Father Bredeick's monument now sits near the cemetery's entrance. The only piece missing from the original monument is a cross that used to rest on top of the memorial. Only a small piece of the cross was unearthed.
A new grave marker with Father Bredeick's picture and a short history sits near the center of the cemetery.
Helen Kaverman, a cemetery board member and local historian, said the community plans to surprise Father Bredeick's kinfolk with the original monument when they visit Aug. 1 during a sister-city trip.
At that time, Mrs. Kaverman said, a wreath would be placed at the old monument.
“We just told them there's a surprise,” Mrs. Kaverman said.