The Vermont Old Cemetery Association (VOCA) was founded in 1958 to encourage the restoration and preservation of neglected and abandoned cemeteries in the State of Vermont. Vermont cemeteries date back to the 1700's. They are memorials to the people who endured hardships to settle Vermont when it was a Republic, and to their many descendants. In many instances, there are no surviving members of families to watchdog and preserve their family gravestones. It is up to us to safeguard these sacred emblems.
Perpetual care means very little - an occasional mowing, no repairs. Marble, granite, slate, and soapstone do not last forever; rock is a layered material subject to climatic changes. It is porous and can split. A gravestone can deteriorate into several pieces when the soil shifts under the base and the stone tilts and eventually falls. VOCA has been instrumental in improving or reclaiming many old gravestones, But there is much more work to be done.
The rewards of preserving and restoring old Vermont cemeteries are many; personal, educational, historical, patriotic, for these cemeteries span the centuries - from the 18th century into the indeterminate future. VOCA holds two meetings each year, in a variety of settings: on the first Saturday in May, and the first Saturday in October. We urge you to consider participating in this dedicated endeavor by joining the Vermont Old Cemetery Association. Dues are very modest and within the reach of almost any family.
Some things we do
Our members are constantly working in all parts of the state, in cemeteries large and small, righting and cleaning grave markers, clearing brush, fixing fences, repairing damged markers, and recording inscriptions.
We provide cash grants to individuals and groups who need financial assistance in starting and conducting restoration projects.
VOCA encourages publicity: newspaper, magazine, radio, television, parade floats, cemetery tours, fair exhibits, and can often provide interesting speakers and slide shows.
The Association publishes an interesting newsletter four times a year. It includes articles on cemetery laws, care, and preservation aids.
Our organization has led the way for other states to participate in cemetery restoration: New Hampshire, Maine, and Wisconsin have followed VOCA's example.
VOCA encourages memorial gifts of any denomination, for by memorializing your own, you promote the work of VOCA and contribute towards the attainment of its goals. Gifts are tax-deductible.
We have hundreds of members: a dozen charter members, groups such as towns, historical and patriotic societies, Granges, Home Demonstration and other community groups, individuals and families scattered throughout the entire United States.