The care and maintenance of the Catlin Community Cemetery located at the site of the former Catlin Mennonite Church near Peabody, Kansas continues to be a concern. This letter comes to inform you of the need there and to seek donations to provide for ongoing care of the cemetery. By establishing an adequate endowment fund, the cemetery board believes that the cemetery can be maintained through fund growth and interest without depleting the principal portion of the endowment fund.
The cemetery lies one mile west and three and one half miles north of Peabody, Kansas, on Mustang road. The first burial at this site was pioneer settler, Henry Hornberger's daughter in 1873. This site then became the community burial ground. In 1885 the Mennonites bought this cemetery ground and built the church in 1886. This was the second Old Mennonite church established in Kansas. In 1961 the church was disbanded and the church building removed. There are 118 marked and unmarked graves, including infants and children.
Charles Good, whose great-grandparents are buried in the cemetery, and Don Stutzman, who attended Catlin Mennonite Church as a child with his parents, Clifford and Lillian, are currently serving as volunteer cemetery board members. Both recently have cared for the cemetery property for minimal reimbursement. Others involved in care of the cemetery have been Harold Beck and Allen White, both deceased. Paul Diener has volunteered his time to trim and repair damaged head stones.
Until now, maintenance costs for the cemetery have been covered by a cemetery fund administered by the two current board members. In the fall of 2006, the cemetery fund balance was approximately $500. Market costs for mowing and maintaining the cemetery are estimated to be up to $1,500 annually to maintain the cemetery in good condition. When current funds are depleted, maintenance of the cemetery becomes the responsibility of Catlin Township. Kansas law requires that cemeteries be mowed a minimum of twice a year. Minimal township mowing would most likely be done with a tractor type mower which could damage already vintage monuments and markers. We believe that the cemetery grounds would fall into a less than desirable condition.
In searching for a way to maintain this pioneer cemetery, the current board members decided to set up a perpetual endowment through the Peabody Community Fund (an affiliate with the Greater Newton Community Foundation) in order to sustain the maintenance. The investments will be managed by the Greater Newton Community Foundation and funds for cemetery care will be dispersed by Catlin Cemetery board members. In the event that there are no interested persons available to serve on the cemetery board in the future, the dispersements of funds for care of the cemetery would revert to the Catlin Township board.
With adequate funds available from interest and fund growth, care of the cemetery could continue to be maintained in excellent condition. An initial contribution of $20,000 to the endowment fund was recently made by an anonymous donor to start the endowment fund for cemetery care. The board believes that an additional $15,000 to $20,000 needs to be raised to fund the endowment adequately. In addition to the mowing of the cemetery (seven to eight times per season), funds, if available, could be used to repair broken head stones, trim trees around the cemetery, provide for expanded fencing and install a visitor information/registration kiosk.
The cemetery board decided to contact friends and families to ask for donations to raise additional funds. Families of many of those buried in the cemetery are not traceable. There may be no direct descendants for some. I am contacting you because you have a relative buried in the cemetery or have some other connection to the Catlin Mennonite Church. I invite you to pass this letter along to other parties that may have an interest in this Cemetery.
Memorial gifts of any size would be greatly appreciated. Because of the size of the (tax exempt) contributions needed, we are asking you to make either a one time cash contribution or pledge an amount to give over a three year period. Non-cash gifts can also be given or you can designate to the Peabody Community Fund in your will.
Anyone wishing to volunteer to serve on the cemetery board may contact either Don Stutzman at the address below or Charles Good, Executive Vice President, Peabody State Bank, 201 N. Walnut, Peabody Kansas 66866 . Phone 620-983-2181.
Listed below are the two options for tax exempt cash contributions:
1.________I would like to make a one-time contribution of $________ to the
Catlin Community Cemetery Fund.
2________I would like to make a three-year pledge of $_________to the Catlin
Community Cemetery Fund. Enclosed is my first Payment on the pledged
Please make your check out to Peabody Community Fund with Catlin Cemetery Fund noted in your check's memo line. Mail your tax exempt donation (please note if you are pledging an additional amount) to Peabody Community Fund, % Peabody State Bank, 201 N. Walnut, Peabody, Kansas 66866
The board hopes to raise enough money over the next two or three years to maintain the cemetery properly from fund growth and interest accrued. A directory of those buried in the cemetery is now available on-line at http://www.dgatx.com/family/places/Catlin-Cemetery/hs.html. If you have questions pertaining to your family or the fund, please contact me and I will respond promptly.