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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Pay Dirt...At Last!

     Recently, my gravin' buddies and I went on a mission to find some lost cemeteries in Benton Co., AR.  Not only did we enjoy ourselves, but we accomplished the mission as well.  Our first stop was to find the elusive Wayt Family Cemetery.   Alvin and I went about 3 miles east of Maysville and first searched through field near a pond.  From the satellite photo there was an unusual fenced off square that we thought might be a possible cemetery.  As it turned out, it was not.  Next, we decided to go to a nearby farm and see if we could visit a cemetery there.  The graves we were hunting for were of the Cornett children.  The owner gave us permission and this is what we found:

 Cornett graves as we found them
 The only nearly complete stone we found
 The mysterious foot stone of M.C.

 Believed to be the headstone of Emmett Cornett
 Grave of a pet, Age 9
The Cornett graves after some minor excavation

     Plans are being made to revisit this historical cemetery.  Where there are base stones or foot stones, there must be some headstones too.  Also, it is believed that the father, Marshall Cornett is buried here with the children.  The foot stone seems to indicate this.  All we need is a headstone.
     Next, Alvin and I headed to look for the Wayt Cemetery.  We knew we were in the right area, but we just could not locate it without help.  So we went and visted with Mr. Pritchard.  Bingo!  Mr. Pritchard knew about the cemetery and also talked about the encampment and the Harmonious Vegetarian Society located near his home.  However, he said that the Wayt graveyard was on the next property over as was the site of the Harmonious Vegetarian Society buildings.    He also spoke of another small graveyard located on 80 acres he used to own and told us how to get there.  He didn't seem to positive about the neighbors cooperation, but we headed over there anyway.
     Mr. Holloway greeted us in the driveway and after talking about a few local things we spoke about the Wayt Family cemetery.  He confirmed that it was on his property that he had leased out and for that reason he could not allow us to go back there.  However, he mentioned that he would take the pictures himself.  So we had to settle for that and we were unsuccessful in accessing the cemetery for ourselves.  So while we do not have any pictures, we do have a grave listing from 1964:

Allen G. Wayt
Nov 25, 1810 -Jan 2, 1884
Age 74 Years

Allen S. Wayt
June 7, 1855 - July 22, 1881

Eliza B. Wooden, wife of James "Jim" Wooden
Sept 20, 1866 - Aug 22, 1886

Eless Wayt*
June 22, 1877-July 22, 1878

Byron Wayt*
May 12, 1872 - Dec 23, 1873

*These two names are on one stone.

    Due to some confusion in the past, it was believed that the Cornett family and the Wayt family were one in the same or at least in really close proximity.  This seemed to by why they were always placed together.  However, the cemeteries, while in reasonably close proximity (about 1 mile apart), they are defintely two separate cemeteries.  Through later research it was learned that the Cornett and Wayt families are related.

     We did attempt to find the other cemetery that Mr. Pritchard informed us about, but were not successful in finding it...rather nobody was home to ask.  However, later follow-up research yields positive results and we hope to visit this graveyard really soon.  Watch for the result here!
     Thus ends our adventure for this time....

Friday, April 19, 2013

A Day In The Life Of Sunday Gravers!

A Beautiful Sunday Indeed!

     A few days ago me and my gravin' buddies, Alvin and Gene, went on an adventure.   Our first stop of the day was the Russell Cemetery in Benton Co., AR.  This cemetery is located just outside of Gravette and is well-cared for.  Here are the overviews:

     The cemetery contains several really interesting stones, but perhaps this stone was the most interesting:

M.E., Wife of A.J. Russell

     Our next stop was the Beavers Cemetery, located in Bella Vista, AR.  The cemetery is somewhat cared for and has some really nice stones in it.  However, being the thorough investigators that we are we walked the perimeter of the cemetery and discovered some more graves.  The cemetery is much bigger that originally thought!

 Overview of Beavers Cemetery
Grave of Lewis Beavers

     After this cemetery, we headed over to Pea Ridge, AR and tried to locate the Foster Cemetery on Mariano Rd.  We were unsuccessful however and decided to eat lunch instead.  After lunch, we met up with Darla, who was to be our "guide" to the Mahurin Cemetery located near Garfield, AR.  This is a fairly old cemetery and you really need to have a four-wheel drive to reach it.  Or at least a good pick-up.  You must travel up a hill and go across land to reach it.  You do need permission to visit this one.  The folks are really nice, but they mince no words when they tell you to ask permission to access the cemetery or get into to trouble.  So ask permission before going to this cemetery.  It is well worth the trouble!  Here are a few select photos for you to look at:
 Sarah Ann (Mahurin) Ross Blevens
 Sarah E Green
 Sallie (McNeil) Mahurin
Rev. Benjamin Cephas Mahurin
 Overview of Mahurin Cemetery
Another Overview of Mahurin Cemetery

     Our last stop was at the Pratt and Pace's Chapel Cemeteries near Avoca, AR.  How we came to arrive at these cemeteries is interesting.  Darla, our guide to the Mahurin Cemetery, told us that somebody had told her about this possible "little" cemetery that could be seen from the road (Hwy 62 north of Rogers).  So, being the "gravers" that we are, me, Alvin, and Gene set out to find this. We found it!  Actually, we discovered that although it looks small from the highway, it is actually quite large.  Both are very interesting cemeteries and have some old burials in them.  This next one is perhaps not the oldest, but the man who is buried here was definitely born before many of the other people.  He is buried in the Pratt Cemetery.

Hardin Weatherby (Note that he was born in 1768)

John A.M. Trolinger

     This child was also buried in the Pratt Cemetery.  There is a story behind this one.  His death date was buried for many, many years.  At least since the mid 1970s when the cemetery was recorded by the Northwest Arkansas Genealogical Society (NAGS).  In their books, he is listed with the birth date and no death date (since it was buried then).  Well, as you can see in the photo, it is not buried anymore.  

The Pratt Cemetery

     Pace's Chapel Cemetery is located right next door to Pratt Cemetery.  Here is a lovely overview of a portion of Pace's Chapel:

 Pace's Chapel Cemetery
Christian Christopher Sager

     Though there are many interesting stones in Pace's Chapel, perhaps this stone of Christian Christopher Sager, is one of the more interesting.  Sager is a name that is associated with my own family, specifically the Chastain family.  If you ever visit Pace's Chapel, this is a must-see.

     Thus ends our little adventure for that day.  I hope you have enjoyed our little jaunt back into the past.  Leave me a comment if you have!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Annual Meeting Schedule for BCCPG, Inc!

http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~arbccpg/ The 2013 Annual Meeting for the Benton County Cemetery Preservation Group will be held on March 9, 2013 at 9:00 am at the headquarters of the Benton County Historical Society, 306 NW 2nd St., Bentonville, AR. Please plan on attending this important occasion as there will be the nominating and election of new officers and board members. We appreciate your continued support!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Wilson Family Graveyard Gets A Face Lift

     We have visited this interesting cemetery several times and thought it was time to give it a face lift.  This cemetery probably had not been cleaned in several years.   Kudos to Alvin Derby, Gene Bradshaw, and myself for taking this interesting cemetery under our wings to care for it.  Indeed, several graves had not even been uncovered in decades!  This first picture is of a monument that belongs to William Friend Wilson, one of the few graves that carry this unique monument in the U.S.

                                                        William Friend Wilson Monument

     This next stone belongs to John Thomas Phelan.  This stone probably had been buried for over 100 years.  In fact, it was buried so long that descendants could not find it and put in a replacement stone.

 John Thomas Phelan

John Thomas Phelan, Standing Tall

     The next few pics are of some very interesting stones found in the cemetery.  Hope you enjoy them!

 Jacob Winkler
 William Pheland
Gabbert Children Base
Gladys & Frank Gabbert on base

     Regarding the William Pheland stone, this one had been buried for some time.  And we had walked over where it was lying a number of times.  The Gabbert base was very interesting.  We had found the foot stones for Gladys and Frank Gabbert and we know the mother, Elizabeth, is buried there as well.  However, there was no stone for any one of those.  Later, as we were researching and search for two other Wilson burials nearby here, the owner of the property where this graveyard is located had the stone of Gladys & Frank Gabbert on his porch.  His son had been walking in the woods and found it buried.  Somebody had tried to carry it off and got tired and buried it there.  Perhaps they had intended on returning and could not locate the stone again.  We placed it back in the cemetery.  We are still trying to locate the stone for Elizabeth Gabbert.

     We are still trying to find the stone for John Wilson who died in 1846.  We found his foot stone and believe he is buried next to where Matilda Wilson is buried.  But we cannot locate his head stone.  We started excavating the area and this is what we found.

Burial Site of John Wilson

     You can clearly identify the foot stone and the base stone without the head stone.  The base stone was discovered about 4 inches under the ground.  This base had been buried a long, long time.  The large stone next to the site that is visible in the photo may have been the field stone marker that originally identified the burial.  Directly behind the foot stone is another field stone marker identifying the foot of the grave.

     When we discovered this cemetery, it was overgrown and hard to get across due to all the briers and brambles.  But as the following pictures will attest, we (Alvin Derby, Gene Bradshaw, and myself)  have made quite a difference to this cemetery.

                                                       A Cleaner Wilson Family Graveyard

     We hope you have enjoyed this brief but fascinating visit to the Wilson Family Graveyard.  If you have any information on this cemetery, please leave a comment.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Lookin' Good at the John T Skelton Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR!

     Yesterday was a wonderful day for Gravin'.  Me and my gravin' buddy headed out to the John T. Skelton Cemetery, located in the heart of Fayetteville, AR.  John Thaddeus Skelton was a Confederate soldier and and early pioneer of the area.  I had visited this cemetery a few times before and though it was two acres in size, you were only able to get into a small part of it.  However, now you can actually traverse the entire two acres.

 Skelton Family plot before cleaning
Thatch Family plot before cleaning

     As you can see from the above "before" pictures, the two defined family plots were next to impossible to see inside.  This is how the whole cemetery was.   At this time, it was impossible to see the cemetery sign due to the thick brush and briars.  However, with the help of a few friends and the Washington County Inmate Program, the Skelton cemetery is finally starting to be reborn.

 John T Skelton Cemetery

     Before the cleaning, you could not even see where this sign was located.  However, you can see that it is clearly visible in the above photograph.  Interestingly, you now access the cemetery from the eastern side.  The sign is on the northwestern side of the cemetery indicating that there must have been a western entrance at one time.  As the sign indicates, "Est. 1878, Here lie pioneers and Civil War Veterans."

 Skelton Family Plot, after cleaning

     A round of applause goes to a couple of people who are very active in the preservation of cemeteries.  They cleaned up the Skelton plot and gave the fence a fresh coat of paint!

 Misplaced base stone

     It is not clear if the base stone actually goes in this spot or not.  However, there are two unidentified graves here, marked by indentations in the ground.  If the base stone came from another part of the cemetery, I would think the person or persons had a hard time getting around with it.

 Routh Infant, Charley

 Half a stone, many in the cemetery are like this

     It was odd that there are several stones like the ones above and the top halves could not be located.  In 2009 there was an ice storm and several were broken like the one above.  Perhaps they are there still waiting to be discovered.

Overview of some of the cemetery, note the two indentations marking graves

     The above pictures serve to illustrate how the cemetery looks today.  A marked difference from just a few months ago to be sure.  Props to all of those whose efforts are clearly shown!

     Ofcourse, there are some very nice stones in this cemetery.  Here are a few to show you:

 Grave of Walter J Logan
 Graves of John T & Mary A Skelton, note the Confederate Flag
 Grave of Minnie Mummert
 Grave of William Henderson Thatch
Grave of Frederick Skelton

      The John T Skelton cemetery has about 24 marked graves and many more marked with just field stones, like this picture shows below:

      I hope you have enjoyed our trip through the past at the John T Skelton Cemetery in Fayetteville, AR!  There is still much to do at the cemetery and many more hours of research to do.  I will try and post a burial listing of those buried here soon.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Wilson Family Was An Important Historical Family In Washington County, Arkansas

Wilson Lake Area Cemeteries
Washington County, Arkansas

     Lately, I've been spending a lot of time near Wilson Lake in Washington Co., AR.  Wilson lake is just south of Fayetteville and to the east of Greenland on Wilson Lake Rd which is just off County Road 69.  Me and my gravin' buddy found a goldmine of cemeteries to research and photograph.  
     Wilson Lake is a beautiful nature area.  Just take a look at the following pictures:

Wilson Lake, looking toward the dam
Beautiful view of Wilson Lake

     The first cemetery we photographed was the Stelle-Schaffer Cemetery.  Originally called the Stelle Graveyard, it was founded in 1872.

Stelle Graveyard, 1872

     It is definitely a cute little cemetery named after John Stelle who run a milling business in the same area.

Grave of John Stelle

     Here is an overview of the Stelle-Shaffer Cemetery:

Stelle-Shaffer Overview

     The next cemetery proved to be even more interesting than the Stelle-Shaffer Cemetery.  It is called the Wilson Family Cemetery.  It is named for the Wilson family, who were large land owners and lived in the area where Wilson Lake is located today.

Wilson Family Cemetery Overview

     This cemetery has some very interesting and unusual stones.  A relatively rare find is the monument for William Friend Wilson:

Monument of William Friend Wilson
Top half of William Friend Wilson's Monument

     And the stone for Jacob Van Hoose:

Grave of Jacob R. Van Hoose

There is still much research to do on the Wilson Family Cemetery.  However, there is still yet another Wilson Cemetery in the vicinity.  This one proved to be a little more difficult to find.  However, me and my gravin' buddy finally did find it and it proved to be a great find indeed!  It is also referred to as the Wilson Family Cemetery in some records, but we are calling it the Joseph Wilson Family Cemetery to distinguish it from the other Wilson cemeteries in Washington County.  As far as we know, this cemetery has never been published and may not have ever been photographed either...until our visit!

 Joseph Wilson Grave
 G.M. Cline Grave
Just a small portion of the 1/2 acre cemetery

     Oh, did I mention that you have to hike in to this Wilson cemetery?  Yep, you do.  Not a long hike though, but it is uphill most of the way.  
     These cemeteries are endangered and need some TLC.  I hope you enjoyed the brief visit to three very important cemeteries in Washington Co., AR.  Get interested and let's preserve our rich heritage that can be found in these priceless relics of the past, won't you?