Making a difference in Benton County’s historic legacy
■ Gamble Family Cemetery gravestone restoration project
The local Questers Trail of Tears Chapter No. 904 undertook the Gamble Family Cemetery Restoration project as its 2017-18 community philanthropic activity. In order to secure the funds necessary for the project, the group applied for grants to the State and International Questers organizations, raised funds (through a garage sale, a chapter silent auction and donations) and worked at the AARP Recycling facility in Bella Vista. Almost $7,000 was raised and devoted to this project, which is now complete. In addition, the group is working to develop a school program that will teach respect, etiquette and the historical value of the cemetery.
Numerous grave markers had been vandalized in the past years, including an obelisk of W.M Callis, a Texas Ranger. Specialized restoration experts were hired to repair and restore 10 gravestones and two obelisks. Much research has been done by the Benton County Historical Society, whose information and help with this project was invaluable. Emerson Monument Company in Springdale undertook the resetting of the headstones and obelisks, including that of Texas Ranger W.M. Callis, who died June 2, 1923. The Texas Rangers were formed in 1823 when Stephen F. Austin hired 10 men to keep the peace.
The Texas Cemetery Restoration LLC company of Dallas was contracted to repair three broken grave markers. The headstones of Mr. Henry and Mrs. Elizabeth Callis and their son George had broken into several pieces, which required specialized restoration.
The Questers are dedicated to the study, conservation and preservation of historical objects and places for the benefit of today and tomorrow. The local Questers Trail of Tears Chapter No. 904 president,
Esther Osbahr, committee chair Carolan Weaver and her team, as well as all the members, worked for more than 319 hours on this project.
The Gamble Cemetery was established Jan. 18, 1884. Located in Centerton, it is the resting place of more than 100 prominent Benton County leaders and has historical significance as prominent families from the earliest settlement of Benton County are buried
there, including Civil War and Spanish American War veterans. Today, it is close to the Gamble Middle School and new subdivisions. Restoring and maintaining this historic family-owned cemetery is challenging and also important so that future generations understand, value and respect those who settled this land and helped develop this country.
For more information about the Questers Trail of Tears No. 904 or to donate to this restoration project or to join the group, please contact Esther Osbahr at 479-426-6646 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.