The Colonial Dames of America, Arkansas Chapter XXXIV (CDA), announced the chapter would adopt Thomas Cemetery as a project. The announcement was made at the March meeting.

The 150-year-old cemetery has been vandalized and abandoned and recently North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith named CDA members to an advisory committee. They are Lisa Winkleman of Hot Springs Village, Betty Harp and Teresa Clark, both of North Little Rock.

The three women first established the Thomas Cemetery Association (TCA) as a non-profit, 501 c3 organization. TCA is working to preserve and protect the cemetery at 3800 Division St. at North Little Rock, according to a news release.

“Of the over 700 headstones, only a handful remain standing on the two acres of the cemetery. Broken stones, garbage and overgrown weeds are what stand out now and cleaning up the cemetery is the first priority. The committee is also discussing bringing in a sonar device to be able to identify human remains and buried headstones. They want to put respectable markers on the property, even if the person goes nameless,” according to the release.

“The city is claiming eminent domain on the property. The advisory committee will write grants, fundraise and recruit volunteers to help clean up the property and install a fence. Other organizations interested in historic preservation such as Colonial Dames 17th Century, U.S. Daughters of 1812 and Daughters of American Colonists, have contributed to the project by becoming sustaining members of TCA. Individuals may also become sustaining members. Sustaining membership is $25,” according to the release.

“CDA, established in 1890, is the oldest colonial lineage society for women in the United States. Celebrating its 128th anniversary in 2018, the Society was established to commemorate the history of the 13 American colonies and the men and women who founded them. Its mission is to promote the historic preservation of sites and objects, award scholarships, educate the public about American history, inspire patriotism, and promote fellowship among our members,” according to the release.

Details: Thomas Cemetery Association, Teresa Clark at .