Caretaker of history
Bill Deaton has spent more hours than he can count setting and resetting headstones, cutting grass, trimming trees, reworking a wrought iron fence, hauling dirt, power washing stones, pouring cement, and realigning gravestones. He has used every tool imaginable including chainsaws, chisels, sawzalls, hammers, shovels, screwdrivers, wrenches, a generator and a winch. He even erected a flagpole, complete with a flag and light. He has busied himself from early morning to late at night patiently dedicating himself to refurbishing the resting place of the founding fathers of Sistersville.
Deaton, of Friendly, said he was contacted by family members whose ancestors are buried in the Wells Family Cemetery, to see what he could do to try to “fix the place up”.
The family chose exactly the right man, for Deaton has gone above and beyond the call in the role of “caretaker” for that small piece of Sistersville history.
“I feel that if you’re going to do something, you should do it right,” he said. “It’s important. Sometimes I got frustrated and now and then it took me a little while to figure out some things, but it came together pretty well.”
The first grave dug at the Cemetery, which is located adjacent to Sistersville General Hospital, was that of Charles Wells in April of 1815. Wells was the founding father of Sistersville and is buried among many of his family members including several of his twenty-two children, their spouses and children.
A plaque, citing the name of the cemetery also features Deaton’s name prominently in appreciation for his hard work and dedication to the task at hand, was recently erected.
“It wasn’t necessary for them to do that,” he said. “I appreciate it, but it wasn’t necessary. I’m just glad they were pleased with my work.”