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The Globe Gazette
November 17, 2007

Moon restores tombstones

FLOYD — Ted Moon is sprucing up the final resting places of his ancestors.

The Phoenix resident, who was born and raised in Mason City, has been restoring the faded engraving on the grave markers of his grandmother and his great-great-great-grandparents while back in North Iowa this fall for hunting season.

Moon, 73, a retired barber, was working on the lettering on the grave markers of his great-great-great-grandparents, William and Catherine Shannon, at Oakwood Cemetery in Floyd Thursday.

He said when he first saw the grave markers “you wouldn’t even know they were white” because they had so much moss on them.

Moon cleaned off the moss from the century-old tombstones and made the names and dates easier to read.

But he was having problems with what appeared to be a poem or prayer on William Shannon’s grave marker.

The lettering was so worn that it didn’t even show up on a rubbing.

“I think that is ‘Jesus’ right there,” he said, pointing to a faint, difficult-to-read word. “I hate to touch it in case I’m wrong.”

On the back of the grave marker Moon engraved the words, “Letters redone to last another 100 years by Ted E. Moon, 2007, great/great/great grandson.”

Moon also worked on the tombstone of his grandmother, Mrytle Shannon Winter, in the Thornton Cemetery.

Winter died in childbirth in 1899 at age 18.

Moon restored the lettering on the tombstone, which includes the following poem:

“She’s gone to worlds above

Where saints and angels

Meet to eat at our Savior’s table

And worship at his feet.”

When he first saw the grave marker, Moon couldn’t read the poem. However, his son, Marty, a history teacher in Colorado who was visiting the cemetery with him, was able to get the letters to appear in a rubbing, which Moon used as a guide.

It was Marty Moon, who began researching his family tree several years ago, who sparked his father’s interest in genealogy.

The two of them discovered they had ancestors buried in Nashua, as well as Thornton and Floyd.

When Ted Moon realized how worn the lettering was on some of the tombstones, he decided to restore it.

Although he had never done stone carving before, he had done wood carving. He said he carves on ironwood, which is very hard, so he figured he could handle stone carving.

Moon parked his camper overnight at the Oakwood Cemetery while he was working on the grave markers there.

He said he wasn’t the least bit nervous about staying all night in a cemetery.

“I’ve got my great-great-great-grandfather right here to protect me,” he said. “He ain’t going to let any of the other ghosts get me.”

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