Lunch was served previous to the program. After which a verse from the hymn, "Let Me Stand By the Mountain" was sung. This was followed by a report of the financial record, then a short speech of re-dedication was read.
Following is the dedication speech given on Oct.12.
Four score and six years ago our forefathers who dwelled here in the Blue Ridge, set aside certain lands by metes and bounds for the particular purpose of a family cemetery. This action was recorded in the county records of Rappahannock for all posterity. Except, alas, the coming of Shenandoah National Park, to which passed all lands then condemned by the State of Virginia to the Federal Government for a national park. But, this did not stop this determined family. Generation after generation, decade after decade they've returned to this scared spot, keeping alive the memory of our relatives and the former days when they had lived here. Keeping up the cemetery too, as far as was convenient.
Now, today, after an idea born a year ago, with contributions which flowed in from kindred all across the United States, and with some long hard work on the parts of a few, the wall has been restored. Needless to say some did more than others, but each and every part made it possible to complete this undertaking. I might add, ahead of schedule, thanks to several in particular.
So, to commemorate this day, we re-dedicate this same place to future generations and descendants of the Bolen family, Upon this re-dedication we proclaim the name of this spot as the Bolen Cemetery. This day then shall be henceforth remembered by the plaque installed inside the cemetery with the poem, "Why the Mountains are Blue".
On behalf of the relatives, friends, park officials and every other person or persons who had any part in this restoration, I would like to say publicly a very heartfelt thank you.
Next was the presentation of two plaques, one to Clay Gaunt, recognizing him for hauling many loads of sand up the mountain from Luray. The other plaque presented to Beulah Bolen and Mary Bolen Burner for their brother, James, who was not able to attend. Jim had worked more than thirty days restoring the wall, often times from dawn to dusk. Last but not least was the unveiling of a cast aluminum plaque mounted on a stone foundations inside the cemetery, inscribed with the poem, "Why the Mountains Are Blue".
There was lots of photographing and taping. Photos of many of the deceased were shown, added with some oral history, making those dry bones take on some "flesh", being able to put a face with the name. Mr. Bernard Bolen, owner of the nearly one thousand acres of land on which the cemetery is located was remembered with a photo of him on display.
The Bolen family had owned this property since about 1869, when John Henry Bolen bought at "public auction" the lands formerly belonging to Andrew Gaunt who died in 1850. Here John Henry and his wife Mary Frances, whose maiden name was Cornwell bore and reared a family of twelve children which included two sets of twins.
The descendants of this couple number in the hundreds. Four of their grandchildren (so far as I know) are still living, who are: Beulah Bolen, Mary Bolen Burner and James B. Bolen, all of Luray, and Ruth Bolen Kelly of Culpeper. The writer of this article is a double great-great-great-grandson.
This project completed, to the hopeful satisfaction of all who might remember its former condition. We thank all of those who contributed financially, as well as those who labored physically. Thanks to the ladies who so graciously brought food on the days we met as a group. Special thanks again to Clay Gaunt and Jim Bolen.