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Pioneer Cemetery Contains Piece Of Community's History

Tom Watson, Correspondent


In Taylorsville's past, the community cemetery was well kept and was a place of pride because of the pioneer families who were buried there.

There were flowers around the wrought iron fences that marked family plots and the road leading up the hill at the end of Hardin Street was kept in good repair.

The floodwall that borders Salt River ends on the lower side of the cemetery. It is on the hill just south-east of the former Southern States business. Some of the larger stones are visible from Kentucky 55.

The family names of those buried in the Taylorsville Cemetery since the early 1830s are familiar today. They include: Brown, Blackburn, Holsclaw, Dennis, Watson, Cheatham, Cooper, Johnston, Huston, Murphy, Cook, Caine, Black, Mathis, Heady, Rice, Wood, Stout, Branham, King, McKinley, Goodwin, Burnette, Martin, Minor, Crutcher, Cox, Maddox, Matthews, Purdy, Montgomery, Mudd and many others.

But over the years, after hundreds of burials, a number of the descendants of those early Taylorsville and Spencer county families have moved on or the families have simply died out.

African American families buried their dead in the same cemetery, but mostly on the south side of the hill facing the Salt River. Most of the graves on the west side, facing Hardin Street, are those of early Caucasian settlers.

In recent years, neither Taylorsville nor Spencer County would claim the cemetery, although records show it has always been within the city limits. Last year, the city acknowledged the cemetery lies within its limits and another of the many clean-up attempts was made. Also debated frequently is the boundary of the cemetery.

Some families contend that the graves of their loves ones have fallen victim to encroachment. The cemetery has been vandalized over the years and many of the original stones were crushed. There is a list of the cemetery's burials based on a survey made of the stones in the 1940s. It can be viewed at the Public Library.

Leonard and Sarah Cheatham, who lie in the Taylorsville Pioneer Cemetery were born more than 200 year ago. There are doctors, lawyers, merchants, soldiers and just plain people who worked to keep Taylorsville a viable community.

Some of the African Americans buried there were murdered by Confederate guerillas during the Civil War.

Many of the pioneers buried there came from Virginia or Pennsylvania and others were born in Europe. They descended from Germany, Ireland, Scotland and France; they were people who sacrificed, bled, worked and born children.

Their voices were heard in the stores and on the streets and in the public buildings. They sang in church, they loved and were loved.

Now, they are hardly remembered by their community. But there's another opportunity at hand for people like First Baptist Church minister, Rev. Benjamin O Branham, County Clerk Jonathan Cox and Dr Henry Minor to be shown the respect they deserve.


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