|Clark County Cemetery Commission seeking volunteers to clean up Little Union Cemetery|
“I received a phone call from a concerned citizen about a local cemetery that needed some attention. Nancy called me and I invited her to our cemetery commission meeting. She has attended the last two cemetery commission meetings to address her concerns to the commission,” stated David Abbott, Clark County Cemetery Commission President.
After hearing the concerns of Nancy Hemphill, Abbott made arrangements to go check out the concerns of Hemphill regarding Little Union Cemetery located on Francke Road in Henryville near Interstate 65. The cemetery is tucked in behind the former location of Stuckey’s and Schuler’s Restaurants.
“We met last Thursday afternoon. I again was overwhelmed with the condition of the cemetery. Although it seems like a smaller cemetery in the county, there are many concerns. First, I noticed trees have knocked over some of the tombstones and there is only one stone still standing. It was nice to see neighbors come over and offer their support and help in the cemetery clean up,” Abbott added.
According to records there are 26 grave sites at Little Union Cemetery dating back to the 1830’s. Family names in the cemetery include Biggs, Burke, Cairns, Clark, Clegg, Crist, Gross, Huckleberry, Hunter, Lewis, McClure and Puckett. The cemetery is the final resting place for at least one Civil War Veteran in Lauson Gross who died in 1877. He was a school teacher in Monroe Township and a Civil War Veteran.
Hemphill was excited to share some of the history of the cemetery.
“First the site was a log cabin school/ church. This was the first thing built in Henryville and the first preaching place in the community,” Hemphill explained.
Hemphill became interested in preserving the history of Little Union Cemetery as a project for her Girl Scout Troop #798.
She was born and raised on Francke Road and wants to help preserve the history of her neighborhood.
“One summer we came up here and it was all grown up. We cut our way through to see what was left. I just want to see the cemetery cleaned up,” Hemphill stated. “I am just wanting help. We need help. We need people with strong backs and knows how to pull weeds.”
The cemetery was cared for by Fred Smallwood for many, many years. Smallwood lived next to the cemetery and just took care of the site, planting flowers and keeping the grass cut. He passed away in July 2000 and the cemetery has since grown up.
The Clark County Cemetery Commission is now seeking volunteers to help clean up the Little Union Cemetery.
“We will need volunteers with chainsaws, rakes, weed eaters, shovels and gloves. We need manpower. The cemetery is positioned in a neighborhood but neighbors have agreed to allow us to park close to the cemetery,” Abbott stated. “I figure that local organizations are looking to plan spring projects. I hope this can be a project for the spring once the weather breaks. We have been successful in the past in getting volunteers to clean up the cemetery and even concerned citizens donating snacks and water for those cleaning up.”
Abbott continued, “I know in the past when we have asked for help, we have received several phone calls. People want to help preserve our local history. We would not be where we are today without our ancestors leading the way. I always feel a little better after helping to clean up a cemetery. We have to ensure that our ancestors may be gone but they will never be forgotten.”
If you or your organization would like to help clean up Little Union Cemetery please contact Nancy Hemphill at 502-523-0937 or David Abbott at 502-931-4669.
Abbott, along with the Clark County Cemetery Commission members, John Prall, Jerry Callam, JoAnn Sullivan and Kelly Kuhri, would like to invite the public to their next meeting on January 13 at the Sellersburg Library beginning at 7 p.m.
“It is nice to see a citizen concerned about a cemetery and follow up with attending meetings and helping to organize the clean up. Nancy was concerned about Little Union as she grew up right down the road from the cemetery. She knows the importance of the history of Little Union. She has worked to see this project completed. I am looking forward to seeing the clean up of Little Union be another successful project,” Abbott concluded.