WELD — Nate Paling carried the slate headstone of Eliza Storer to his car Thursday and drove to Webster Cemetery to reset it.

Paling, a Mt. Blue High School Spanish teacher from New Sharon, is one of three men who formed Tumbledown Tombstone Restoration to repair stones in their spare time. The others are Sean Minear, a Mt. Blue culinary arts teacher from Weld, and Eli Davis, a high school senior.

Selectman Nancy Stowell asked Minear, a sexton at another cemetery in town, if he was interested in helping restore the Webster Cemetery. Residents voted last year to spend $1,000 for stone restoration, lawn maintenance and fence painting, she said.

The cemetery is considered an ancient graveyard by the state, Minear said. Revolutionary War soldiers Joseph Storer and Pomp Russell, an African-American, are buried there. Among the headstone names are Masterman, Storer and Webster, who were the first settlers.

Minear, Davis and Paling did research to learn the craft of repairing old stones, many of which at Webster were broken in half, Stowell said.

Minear, president of the Weld Historical Society, has done much of the research, Paling said.

The three work carefully around the graves as they hunt for pieces of broken stones and label those they find to avoid mix-ups.

“We have a lot of respect for the cemetery, so we took our time and tried to do it right,” Paling said.

The repaired stone Paling brought to the cemetery Thursday was inscribed with the name Miss Eliza Storer, who died June 25, 1811, at the age of 17 years and 7 months.

The stone was broken and missing pieces, including a layer of slate from the bottom half. Paling, Minear and Davis repaired it with a special epoxy and clamped it together. They let it cure in Minear’s yard.

Once at the grave site, Davis started enlarging the hole to set it. His shovel kept hitting what sounded like a rock. It turned out to be the missing layer from the headstone.

The three agreed they would take it back to Minear’s house and put the final layer on.

Paling and Davis moved to another stone that needed to be leveled and reset. It was inscribed with the names Eliza and William, who died in the 1800s. Their last name was too worn to read.

Davis enlarged the hole for Paling to set the marker on smaller rocks to keep it straight. Minear looked down the row of stones to make sure it was even with the other headstones in the row. Davis and Paling used a level to make sure it was perfectly aligned before filling in the hole with dirt.

It’s estimated the men have restored at least 12 stones and righted many more at the graveyard on Center Hill Loop Road. They are not the only ones working on the restoration.

Stowell has cleaned brush from around the stone wall in the back of the cemetery. An area in front of the the white wooden fence around the cemetery was also cleared.

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