1. Is Edgar Cemetery tax supported? How does it get funding to operate?
Established in 1858 and operating under a special state charter, the cemetery operates on a tight budget as a self-supported entity.
The cemetery was chartered in 1888 as Edgar Cemetery. The cemetery is not a government agency and is not tax-funded. The grounds are often erroneously called Edgar County Cemetery, with the false assumption that it is tax supported.
Income is derived only from the sale of lots, the placement of foundations for memorial markers, grave openings for interments and gifts by will and/or bequest. All revenue is returned to the cemetery for upkeep and beautification. A volunteer Board of Directors oversees operations, and a supervisor maintains the property.
The established burial site is nearly as old as the county, although earlier burials exist, and has been cared for through the power of volunteerism for over 150 years.
2. Are gifts to Edgar Cemetery tax deductible?
Gifts to the cemetery, a 501 © (13) organization, are tax deductible …. as long as no goods or services are provided in exchange for a contribution. For example, if someone gives $10,000 to the cemetery as a gift, but gets 10 grave spaces in the deal, the tax deduction is the difference between the gift and the value of the grave spaces. Donations specifically directed to the Tree Fund, Flag Fund or “Care and Maintenance” should be designated as such.
3. What services does Edgar Cemetery routinely provide?
The purpose of the Edgar Cemetery’s Board of Directors is to create a beautiful, serene and pleasant setting for the nearly 20,000 interments on the property, as well as to enhance the ambiance and plan for the future of the cemetery.
The cemetery office, located near the main south gate, keeps a permanent record of interments, including military information; assists families in the selection of lots and/or spaces; locates interments in the cemetery; and prepares sites for burial.
In addition, the Superintendent directs the seeding, fertilizing and mowing of the grounds; removal of undesirable growth; trimming of trees and shrubs; planting of flowers for general appearance; and maintenance of driveways. The Superintendent also oversees removal of dead or damaged trees and the planting of new ones, as well as the display of American flags on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day.
Annual cleanup is conducted the first week of April and October to keep the decorations current.
4. Are damaged tombstones (vandalism or natural occurrence) covered by cemetery insurance?
Edgar Cemetery carries no insurance coverage for monument repairs because most individual home owners or renters’ policies include this coverage. Ownership of cemetery lots, spaces and monuments passes from one generation to the next. (For example, if the memorial stone was purchased by your grandfather and is damaged in any way, it is currently regarded as your property.) Therefore, It is the responsibility of descendents to make repairs on specific grave sites or lots.
5. Are there things I should know about decorating or maintaining family graves? Yes, we ask that our visitors do not use chemical spray, rocks, borders, glass containers, or plant rose bushes.
6. How late is the cemetery open?
The cemetery closes at dark throughout the year.
7. Are pets welcome?
Please, no dogs.
8. Can I plant a tree on my lot?
The cemetery prefers to plant a tree upon request by the family. Depending upon available space, the tree may be planted near the intended lot, but not directly upon it.
9. Does the cemetery provide perpetual care in terms of flowers, flags, and such?
Edgar Cemetery does not offer perpetual care, according to the By-Laws, which are available through the cemetery office. However, it does honor trusts created by individuals or families for flowers, lot and memorial maintenance, per the terms of the trust. The amount of the trust is invested at the best possible return. The cemetery will never invade the principle of a trust, but does utilize 15 percent of the earned annual income for administration of the terms.
10. How can I provide flowers for my loved one in Edgar Cemetery?
An attorney can draw a simple trust which lists certain wishes and identifies what lots and spaces are involved. Then, the sum of the trust is presented to the Board of Directors for investment. Remember, the principle will be eternal, as the cemetery will not invade the principle amount of the trust, spending only the earned income.
11. Does the cemetery have a 501C tax exemption to receive monetary gifts?
Although Edgar Cemetery does not have 501C distinction, it is possible to make such a donation to the cemetery by utilizing the community’s Edgar County Foundation as the 501C agency, and designating specific funds to the cemetery in that manner. The cemetery thrives on such gifts. Further information is available through the cemetery office. Gifts are also accepted through the cemetery office or into an established Edgar Cemetery account at the Edgar County Bank.
12. How can I purchase a burial site in Edgar Cemetery?
Call the cemetery office at 217-463-2415 and the Superintendent by appointment will explain the available locations and different costs of spaces per location. Contact the cemetery office for current rates.
13. What is the cost of a burial in Edgar Cemetery?
After selection of an existing or new space, the cemetery charges a grave opening fee at three levels – weekdays, Saturday a.m., and Saturday afternoon – with week days being the least expensive.
14. Can I buy lots now, and sell them later if I don’t need them?
The Cemetery does not allow the resale of spaces or lots between individuals. The exchange of lots must be done by and through the cemetery office in order to have knowledge and control of who will and can be interred in a particular space or lot. The Cemetery will return, to the owner wishing to sell spaces, the exact amount paid for them at the time of purchase. The cemetery reserves the right to reclaim any unused spaces of lots which have not had burial activity or contact from the heirs of the lot, after 75 years of the last interment.
15. Who oversees and approves construction and placement of vaults, mausoleums and memorials?
The cemetery Superintendent oversees the opening of grave sites for interment, the location, placement and construction of memorial foundations, and the setting of the individual or family markers.
16. Are family burial records available through the cemetery office? What other information can be found in Edgar Cemetery records?
The cemetery office typically has the following records available: full name, including maiden name; age, birth and death dates; burial records; dates of interment; next of kin and family relationships; lot owner; original price for spaces; funeral home; lot and grave location; list of all interments on the same lot and nearby lots.
17. Is there a fee charged for research conducted at the cemetery office?
Like most research facilities, Edgar Cemetery does charge a fee for research conducted in the cemetery office. To obtain current rates, please call the office at 217-463-2415 or email the superintendent at [email protected].
18. What other resources are available in the Paris, Illinois, community for genealogy research?
Local resources include the Edgar County Historical Society, Edgar County Genealogical Library, Edgar County Clerk and Recorder, Paris Public Library, Prairie Press, church records, funeral homes and monument companies. (See “Related Links.”)