"Show me the manner in which a nation or community cares for its dead, and I will measure with mathematical exactness the tender mercies of its people, their respect for the laws of the land, and their loyalty to high ideals."
That quote by Sir William Ewart Gladstone, who first served as prime minister of Great Britain starting in December of 1868 during the reign of Queen Victoria, is inscribed on a plaque on the maintenance building at Union Cemetery in Steubenville.
And it's a quote the Hetty Elizabeth Beatty No. 1419 Chapter of the Questers is endeavoring to honor by launching a campaign to restore the old stone chapel building constructed in 1892.
"This was the original office at Union Cemetery," said Edna Walley, a member of the chapter who noted the first Jefferson County Courthouse bell hangs in the belfry.
"The original slate roof is in dire need of replacement, and plans are under way to begin the project next year," Walley said.
Dave Wertz, a professor of restoration at Belmont Community College, and Joe Benline, supervisor at Union Cemetery, assessed the damaged slate, according to Walley. "In addition to the roof, they would like to repair any additional deterioration to the building along with planting new shrubbery to complete the project."
The cemetery was founded in 1854 and is "a beautiful part of our community and second on the national registry for lawn beauty," Walley said. "It is, as the history of the cemetery points out, 'a community album and sanctuary for the dead and a source of inspiration for the living."
Walley said it is there that the public enjoys walking, jogging, school field trips, bird watching, the study of plants and wildlife or just relaxing on a bench and reflecting or reading.
"The Questers would like to ensure that this beautiful and historical place of rest will remain a place to admire and respect for at least another 150 years," Walley said.
While the chapter has raised some funds toward the restoration, additional funds are needed to aid in the project, according to Walley.
"With the help of donations from the public, they can proceed with this project as planned," Walley said.
For anyone interested, checks can be made out to Questers H.E.B. Chapter and sent c/o the Pugliese Charitable Foundation, P.O. Box 2620, Wintersville, OH 43953.
The Questers is a charitable organization, and donations are tax-deductible.