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001 New Hope Church and Cemetery Wetmore, CO

The New Hope Church and Cemetery are located on County Road 295, 1.6 miles north of Hwy 96, just east of the town of Wetmore, Colorado.

According to the history handed down to descendants of the original Hardscrabble Park, New Hope Church was built as a community house of worship by all the people of the community.

An initial meeting took place on May 13, 1871 at the school house near Ira Porter's home in Hardscrabble Park. The purpose of this meeting was to organize the creation of a Baptist Church for the community. Articles of Incorporation, drafted by Stephen J. Tanner, Ira R. Porter and William R. Crouch, were filed on September 11, 1873. This makes the Church 137 (as of 2010) years old and is the second oldest Baptist church in Colorado.

The first church list consisted of 110 members, and Elder S. B. Chastine served as the first Pastor.

Ira Porter donated the land, and the church was built by the congregation. Construction was completed in 1873. The wood frame is assembled by mortised joints and wooden pegs. No nails were used in the construction. The floor joists are hand hewn lodge poles and pine logs with tongue and groove assembly. Square nails were used to attach the roof and siding. The pulpit and pews were handmade by the members. Vinyl siding was put on in the early 1980's to help preserve it.

Services were discontinued when the New Hope congregation started attending services in the new Wetmore Community Church completed in 1917. Currently, the church and cemetery are maintained by the donations and volunteer work of family members and the community of Wetmore.

It wasn't until November 1873 that the members voted to lay out ground for the cemetery. However burials were made there at least three years prior. Burials were free and neighbors and friends hand dug the graves. The earliest known grave is of Jason P. Vaughn, born November 24, 1869 and died February 7, 1870. (2 months and 13 days old).

Records were not kept of those buried in the cemetery. However, a record book was compiled by the late Dorothy Breece who used old newspaper articles and obituaries in her research. Some graves listed as unmarked have had a rock, wooden cross or something identifying the site. Several of these sites have since been identified by relatives and metal markers have been put on these graves. There are many handmade markers, some with just a rock set at the head and nothing more. Some are cement markers, now hard to decipher due to erosion. There are still many graves that may never be identified, but at least the names of those who are known to be buried there are listed in the record book.

Today, there are 582 known buried in the cemetery. Of those, 49 are Veterans who served in the Civil War, Mexican War, WWI, WWII, Korean Conflict and Vietnam War.

photo taken in 1900

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