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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?