The Old Village Cemetery in downtown Brighton once again looks majestic with its historic beauty as a result of the 10th annual Cleanup Day, sponsored by the Brighton Area Historical Society.

Some 30 volunteers used hoes, rakes and other basic garden tools Saturday to remove the dry leaves, branches, twigs, litter and other debris that had accumulated over the winter months. Historical society President Jim Vichich tells WHMI that, with the hard-working volunteer crew and favorable weather, the cleanup day was a huge success.

Vichich says students from the Charyl Stockwell Preparatory Academy in Brighton and Cub Scout Pack 345 assisted the adult volunteers. Among the volunteers was Brighton Mayor Jim Muzzin, along with some employees of the Brighton DPW. Restoration of the historic cemetery has been a labor of love for the historical society and will continue until all of the damaged headstones are repaired and restored to their proper place of honor. So far, Vichich says, 130 headstones have been restored — and the group plans to restore another 26 this summer.

Many headstones were found buried or partially buried and in pieces, and have been restored with the help of a professional conservator. The oldest headstone is from 1837, that of Truman Worden, making it over 180 years old. It dates from about the time Brighton was settled as the unincorporated village of Ore Creek. Former Michigan governor Kinsley Bingham (1808-1861), who was governor from 1859-1861, and a US senator after that, is also interred there, as are 30 Civil War veterans. The cemetery, at one time neglected and closed, is once again open to the public. It is a registered Michigan Historic Site. Pictures courtesy of Brighton Area Historical Society.(TT)