Saturday, November 26, 2016

Smithland Cemetery

Smithland Cemetery is one of the treasures of Smithland, Kentucky.  A walk through the cemetery will show elaborate monuments as well as simple slabs devoid of artwork. The sign at the entrance states  the cemetery dates from 1810, but it is possible that the cemetery dates from a later time period.  In fact, the earliest burial dates given on the tombstones are mainly from the 1830s and later. Nevertheless, it is a very old cemetery and the town is fortunate to have it still in use.

In researching the cemetery, two deeds are important. The first deed  is found in Deed Book GG, page 61 and is dated 19 May 1841. At that time Benjamin and Sterling M. Barner conveyed to William Gordon, Gideon A. Haydock, John E. Wilson, John C. McGraw and William Smith, Smithland town trustees, 10 acres and 7 poles adjoining Smithland, beginning at the back corner of out lot #12 on Level Street and running with the back line of the town ferry to a stone corner to out lot #14 on Maiden Street.  The cemetery had been in use for some years by 1841, but no record has yet been found whereby the land was acquired.

Another important deed is from Deed Book 4, page 522, dated 19 July 1860. The town trustees conveyed to H.F. Given, for the sum of $1.00, a piece of land 32 feet wide and 65 feet long, "bounded on the North by the Shoemaker family grave yard, on the East by Haydock's family grave yard and on the Southwest by the George Hagey family grave yard."   This plot is where the  H.F. Given Family Tomb is located today. To date, this is the only deed I have found for the sale of a lot in the cemetery. 

During the 1850s, the town trustees were responsible for the care of Smithland Cemetery.  At a meeting of the trustees in 1853, it was  "ordered by this board that all persons (adults or Minors) guilty of injuring Tomb Stones, fences, pailings, plucking flowers, Braking off Shrubery or otherwise Mistreating graves in the Smithland grave yard Shall be fined four Dollars for each and every offence.   [signed] E.P. Haynes, chairman.   R.M. Haydock  Clerk." 

Smithland Cemetery has many types of tombstones.   Below are just a few examples.

Entrance to Smithland Cemetery

A.A. and Mary A. Grayot 

Alfred A. Grayot 1823 - 1883

Shot by Townsend Ashton on Christmas Day 

1816 Alabama - 1869 Cairo, Illinois

Published 26 November 2016, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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