By Don Ogle
Sidney Sun-Telegraph 

4-H Club Project Honors Final Resting Place


Don Ogle

Wrangler 4-H Club members wade in to high grass to remove old wire and posts from a small cemetery where a family lays east of Lorenzo. The club undertook the cleanup as its annual community service project.

A 4-H club project put a little spit and polish on a little-known private cemetery near Lorenzo last week, sprucing up the final resting place of a long-gone Cheyenne County family.

The project, borne of the search for a project to serve the community, was founded in the minds of young 4-H and real-life sisters, Peyton and Taylor Sprenger. While they were brainstorming for a club project, the sisters spoke to a neighbor, who told them about the small cemetery just east of Lorenzo, suggesting a cleanup might be a good thing for the community.

As they researched the plot, club members found the corner was where, in the 1800s, a family was buried. As they understand, the Ashcroft family and their hired man, an American Indian, sat down to dinner one evening after a long day's work. Later on, all of the family members except for the father, who didn't like and eat the canned tomatoes serves that eve, died, believed to have been from food poisoning.

Those who died, believed the mother, hired man and two children, were buried in the spot, which lays about a quarter mile west of where their house stood.

"We were just thinking of something the club could do for the community," Peyton said. "We asked a neighbor, and they told us about the cemetery."

Wranglers 4-H Club members voted to undertake the project, and club President Kord McMillen worked to seek a grant for the project. The club received a $500 Governor's Agricultural Excellence Award.

So just before the Fourth of July, a dozen club members and nearly as many adult leaders and parents met at the corner to make that long-forgotten resting place one that showed respect and care toward its long-gone residents. Members removed old fence and posts, then mowed grass that was more than waste high on the club's youngest members.

"This is a good group of kids," said one of the club's leaders, Michelle McMillen. "They all raised their hands in agreement on this project. Now they're out here working hard to make it happen."


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