For many years Avery Branch Road, located in the Neva area of Johnson County, held a secret. Traveling up and down that quiet country road, most people except those who lived in the area probably would not know there was a cemetery on a hill only a few yards from the road. In former years it was neglected and it became a tangle of briars, weeds and bushes. Some of the graves had sunk, gravestones had fallen and restoration might have seemed impossible.
Enter Mary Swift, who was born and raised near the graveyard. She was appalled that the place of rest for some 15 souls had fallen to such decline. Not one to sit back and bemoan a situation without taking action, she began to solicit funds to improve the cemetery and to direct the improvements. Within the last few years, great improvements have been made to the cemetery.
Jeffrey L. Carrier in his book, Upon a Lonely Hill, listed the cemetery as Shull Cemetery but it is now Ward-Shull Cemetery. Roy Ward worked diligently to clear the ground and straighten the stones. That was a major undertaking. Nearly all of his work was donated. Marvin Arney hauled dirt to fill in the graves. Most recently, Glenn Arney donated more land to the cemetery extending it to Avery Branch Road. Swift had a sign made and set up to assure that the cemetery that had been obscure so long would now be readily recognized. The sign was designed and installed by David Watson and his wife Kristi. A number of folks made monitory donations to get the work done. Those who have donated are as follows: Naomi (Stout) Arnold, Jim Bunting, Marshall Bunting, Margie M. Ginolfi, Jackie (Shull) Mink, Margaret (Snyder) Myers, Mary Lee (Shull) Shoun, Earl Shull, David Snyder, Doris (Shoun) Supthin, Opal (Bunting) Susi, Roy Ward, Mary (Ward) Swift and Jack Swift.
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