Of Grave Concern


Articles from various editions of the Adair County News, as noted.

June 3, 1903

Rev. W.H.C. Sandidge left a piece of mulberry wood in this office that had been in the earth ever since 1808. In that year the grave of the mother of "cousin Polly" Finley, at Union burying ground, was paled in, using four good sized hewn mulberry posts. They all stood until three or four years ago and one remained until last year, rotting off at the ground. Mr. Sandidge, a  short time ago, dug up the part of the last post which shows to be in a sound condition. The part above the ground was in a good state of preservation.

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February 17, 1909

Human Flesh and Bones Used for Fertilizer

Editor News:

No wonder Kentucky produces better corn and wheat than it did fifty or sixty years ago--the precious dust of three or four generations of the best people that ever lived in any country has been deposited in the earth on nearly every farm in this section, there to moulder and enrich the lands. I know of several large cemeteries of sixty or seventy years ago, I could count twenty-five, fifty, sixty-five, and a hundred graves. Now there is no sign of them and farmers are plowing over the cemeteries--the ground being enriched by that precious dust.

It is high time the people should wake up on this subject and quit burying on farms. The places will be sold in time and go into the hands of strangers, the graves soon covered over with bushes and briars and the resting places of the dead can not be found. I know of one place near Rowes X Roads [in Russell County] that seventy years ago I could count a hundred graves. Now, you could not tell there was ever a burying ground there, were it not for the fact that one lone stone stands as a marker, that of Margaret Stapp, who died in 1818. The other graves had no stone, only small rocks and they had fallen down. No one has been buried in this grave yard for seventy-five or 80 years. The farm use to belong to a man named Stapp. The members of the family have all died or moved away. So it will be with hundreds of other places in the century to come.

Let each neighborhood select a place to bury, have it deeded for that purpose, lay it off in lots and employ a sexton to keep it, and these difficulties will be avoided. -- /s/ A. Rippetoe.

[The author of the foregoing article, Rev. Amasa Rippetoe, a native of the Adair-Russell area, was born 1834 and died 1914. In the late winter of 1909, he and his wife journeyed from their home in Oklahoma to visit friends and family in Old Kentucky.]

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December 1, 1918.

It will not be many years until the city cemetery will have to be enlarged. The addition that was purchased from Mr. Brack Massie, is fast being taken, hence more ground will have to be bought... [W]e venture the assertion that there are but few people in Columbia who know where the first cemetery of the town was located. It was on a hill where Mr. Geo. A. Smith now lives. The writer remembers when many of the headstones could be plainly read. Thirty years or more ago it was plowed over and today there is not a sign of a grave... and we doubt if there is a single person who lives in Columbia now, who can name any of the departed whose bones rest in this old graveyard.

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