Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wesley Chapel Cemetery clean up completed by County Jail Inmates

The long abandoned Wesley Chapel Cemetery is located on private pasture land off Baxter CR 733 West of Mountain Home on property owned by the Knox family. From Mountain Home take State Highway 178 West (West Road) to the intersection of Baxter CR 733. Turn left (South) on CR 733 and go about 1 1/2 miles. The cemetery is in a pasture to the West, about 200 yards from the roadway. Access by vehicle is problematic.  There is a gate on CR 733, and it is possible to drive across the pasture to the cemetery, but there is no road.  The cemetery can also be reached by walking across the field.   The cemetery was completely abandoned for decades.  It was very overgrown and in terribly sad condition. The brush, briars, and limbs were so thick that many of the gravestones were inaccessible.  Over a period of three days in late 2010, it was finally cleaned up and cleared by a Baxter County Jail Inmates work crew, and a new sign was placed. The clean up effort drew media coverage from KY3 TV in Springfield, Missouri.  

The cemetery is surrounded by a barbed-wire fence, and there is a metal gate at the Southeast corner. There is a very large cedar tree in the cemetery with a sign stating it was planted July 22, 1897 by Lemuel F. Graham.  According to the Baxter County Cemetery book, there are at least thirty (30) known graves located here by name, dating from the late 1800's, and probably some unmarked graves as well. The last burial appears to have taken place in 1948.

The cemetery has been unused since the 1940's.   The Wesley Chapel School, no longer there, was said to have been situated very near the cemetery. 

                                        The new sign for Wesley Chapel Cemetery

                                        Jail Inmates arrive on the first day for clean up

                                        An example of the overgrown cemetery conditions

                                         Another example of the grown up conditions

                                        Progress on the clean up is being made in this photo

                                       Taken from the cemetery gate near the end of the clean up

A very large cedar tree stands in the middle of
the Wesley Chapel Cemetery.  A small sign indicates
it was planed in 1897.  Many members of the
Graham family are buried under or near this tree.

                                        Daffodils blooming in the Spring of 2011 after the
                                          cemetery has been cleaned up.

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