Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hutcheson Cemetery believed to be one of the oldest in Baxter County

This very old family cemetery is located on the left (South) side of Baxter CR 108 near the "Steamboat Shoals" area of the White River. From Push Mountain Road, take Baxter CR 108 about 3 miles. The cemetery is just before a private road (Serenity Ln.) on the left on property now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Wilson, who I have had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with. Due to the previous extreme overgrown conditions, the cemetery would not have been noticeable when driving past, except that there is an old cemetery sign that is affixed to the top of a cedar post. There are only 3 graves identified with engraved markers in this cemetery, but it's very obvious from walking through the cemetery that many others are buried here. A few graves are marked with field stones.  There is one unmarked stone cairn along the roadside. The other gravestones are located about 20 yards in from the road.

According to Dolan Acklin, a noted writer and local historian who lives in the area, this cemetery may have been in use as early as 1847.  I had the pleasure of visiting with Dolan and with Bob Bounds on the day the cemetery was being cleaned up.  They told me how they hunted for and found this lost cemetery many, many years ago in the thick brush and vines.  They found that about half of the pieces of the stone cairn had been scraped away and scattered by a road grader.  They gathered the cut limestone blocks and reconstructed the cairn.   The cemetery had not been cared for or maintained at all in recent years, and it was cleaned up by county jail inmates in January, 2011.    It is now being kept weed-eated by the jail inmates.

                                         Hutcheson Cemetery sign, Summer 2009

                                         Hutcheson Cemetery - overgrown condition

                                         Cemetery clean up underway by jail inmates

                                         The three headstones are found in the thick brush

                                          The stone cairn along the roadway at the
                                           cemetery boundary

                                          Bob Bounds and Dolan Acklin near the end of
                                          the cemetery clean up

                                          New sign mounted for Hutcheson Cemetery,
                                          but the old sign was left in place as well.

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