|H.F. Given Family Tomb|
One of the most elaborate and beautiful monuments in Smithland Cemetery in Livingston County, Kentucky is the H.F. Given Family Tomb. According to Deed Book 4, page 522, dated 19 July 1860, H.F. Given purchased "a certain piece of ground in the Smithland Cemetery 32 feet wide and 65 feet long" from the Smithland Town Trustees.
It is believed that the first person interred here was Adaline Haynes Given, first wife of Henry F. Given. According to the inscription on the front middle panel of the tomb, she died in New Orleans 9 January 1860. Perhaps the plot was purchased for the tomb because of her death, but what about the earlier burial dates on the tomb? According to inscriptions, Dickson Given died 7 January 1830, his brother, Joseph R. Given, died 13 October 1832 and their sister, Mary Given Whyte, 4 October 1832.
Alexander Adamson was a stone carver in Caldwell County during the 1830s. John J. Hayden was an employee of Adamson and after Adamson's death in the mid-1830s, Hayden presented a claim for payment from Adamson's estate: "November 21th 1834 To finishing ... and lettering a large tomb stone for Dickson Givin charge $14.00." Where was that tombstone erected? Was there a Given family cemetery, perhaps near Salem, where Dickson lived for many years? If such a cemetery existed, I feel Joseph R. and his wife, Elizabeth, and Mary Given Whyte probably were also buried there. Perhaps when the H.F. Given Family Tomb was built, these early tombstones were removed and memorials to them were placed on the tomb.
Let me tell you what I have learned about the tomb itself. On the lower right corner, near the base, are the names of the stone carvers. The inscription reads, "Wm. Smith & H. Staub Port Gibson Mississippi." It seemed strange that Mississippi people would carve a tomb for people from Smithland until I learned that Wm. Smith was formerly of Smithland and married Ellen Scyster there in 1835. By 1860, the Wm. Smith family had settled in Port Gibson, Claiborne County, Mississippi. Guess who was living in their household that year? Yep, H. Staub, stone carver. Wm. and Ellen Smith continued to live in Port Gibson through 1880, but H. Staub disappeared after the 1860 census.
This tells me the tomb was likely carved during the 1860s, perhaps shortly after the plot in Smithland Cemetery was purchased by H.F. Given. It also tells me that the quality of Wm. Smith's work was familiar to H.F. Given and that is why he engaged him to do the tomb. Quite possibly the tomb was shipped, perhaps in pieces, to Smithland by steamboat.
There are still things I would like to know, specifically was there a Given Family Cemetery and where was it located, so I will keep on searching.
Published 25 April 2013, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog, http://wkygenealogy.blogspot.com/