I wish I had a tractor 2 weeks ago when I decided to drag my family out to the old Jenkins Cemetery in Caldwell county, Kentucky. Many of you may not know, but my most popular post was on finding a haunted cemetery. It has been a top 10 google search especially during halloween. Go check it out: The Haunting .
However, if you want to come on this adventure just keep reading.
To get me in the mood this morning for visiting the old burial grounds, I read an obituary I just so happened to have from my paternal great, great, grandmother Polly Jenkins:
“Last Tuesday night Mrs. Polly Ann Jenkins died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Willis Creekmur, in this county. The deceased was at the time of her death, in her eighty-seventh year, and had for some years made her home with her son-in-law, Willis Creekmur, in the Sugar Creek neighborhood. She had been quite active for one of her age, and was brought to her death bed by a fall about two weeks ago, which dislocated her hip. The deceased was the widow of George Jenkins, and is survived by four sons and two daughters, Esq. T. N. Jenkins, of this city; Whit Jenkins, of Henderson; Joe L. Jenkins, of Johnson City, Ill.; Jas. Jenkins of Union County; Mrs.Willis Creekmur of this county; and Mrs. L. A. Keeney, of Grannis, Ark. The remains were interred in the Jenkins burying ground north of this city.”
We started out early to beat the heat. After all Polly probably would not mind us dropping by to give our respects. There were four of us adventuring out to find the final resting place of our ancestors. We had google maps, find a grave insights, and also my dad’s first cousin who is close to 90 giving us a tour to where we needed to go. He got us a bit lost, but we worked our way back to where we needed to be. Here is where we were going thanks to Google maps. This house you see is now burned to the ground which just happened in the last couple of years:
As you see in Exhibit B-a trail once nicely marks the way we were to walk into where the cemetery was located. Unfortunately, the grass was way up to our hips practically and that path was no where to be found. We still decided to go out in that field -snakes, tics and all. Yes. You can call me nuts about now!
Yet, I knew my chances of coming back to this place may be slim. I also knew I have had several descendants wanting to go to this location for themselves. I felt it was important to track out this place for others to visit on their own time.
The view above is what is left of the house. The photo was taken as we stepped out of the car working our way left of the remains of the shed you see here.
Photo taken toward the road standing with the shed behind me. We parked on the old broken asphalt driveway. This driveway led to the home seen on EXHIBIT A.
It took some walking in the woods to finally come across the cemetery. With my cousins’ help and my nephew, we were able to locate the stones. Much had changed in three years.
I am standing over one of the men who married one of the Jenkins’ girls. This stone was sitting upright three years ago. Below you see my cousin and nephew completely covered with brush surrounding them and the graves. My nephew is standing near the oldest stones that seem fairly well preserved although in a forest type setting now.
Can I just be frank here? I am disgusted no one is keeping this place up. I will try to work on finding a solution to making this place more honorable for the 20 plus people that are buried in those hills of Kentucky. WE can and will get this place cleaned back up.
What are our rights as next of kin? What do the family cemetery laws in Kentucky state suggest? I am not a lawyer, but I did find some insights on that answer. Relatives DO HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRESERVE a cemetery even if they DO NOT own the land. This regulation seems pretty clear. In time, it is my hope a plan will be put into place to annually clean this particular place up.
Respecting the graves is so important. It is about preserving history. Maybe it is time to look into this. If you are interested in being part of this solution, please drop me a line. It is time to respect our pioneer settlers. The grave you see above is from our 4 times great grandpa who fought in The War of 1812. It is time to respect him and the others in this cemetery. Check out this link for additional information on cemetery preservation :
Below also for frame of reference–a part of the land owned by the Jenkins was given for use of a church which is still open to this day. It was deeded over for only $10.00 over a 100 years ago. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get some of those folks out on a Sunday afternoon cleaning this old cemetery up. Just a thought, but a good one. Do you have any? How about the owner of the land in question? My last blog did show a map that is public record with the owners name on it.