TSGS Cruiser Blog

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Indiana Bones and the Lost Cemetery

The Adventures of Indiana Bones  
“The Quest for the Lost West Cemetery”
Indiana Bones has been roaming around “cemetery hopping” in Christian Co., Kentucky looking for the burial grounds for the West & allied families. After going through Ebenezer Church Cemetery, the O'Daniel & then the Cowan Cemeteries, Indiana Bones decided to locate the lost West Cemetery. Calls were made to local cousins in hopes of finding this cemetery... no luck, although, Tommy Henderson tried to figure out where it was. Tommy thought that maybe the cemetery near Frog Hop Road just south of Weathers (Withers) Branch (of Buck Creek) might be West Cemetery. This cemetery turned out to be the Withers (Weathers) Cemetery. At Tommy's suggestion Indiana had talked with Teddy Morgan, left a message with another cousin Eddie Deason and stopped by to see Doris West. No luck with any of these possibilities. Ray Matthews was with the roofers that were working at Doris West house and he suggested talking with the Powell brothers up the road. Well, they were too busy to stop and talk. By this time, Indiana had decided he was going to find this cemetery, no matter what! The 1966 directions had said that this Withers Cemetery was 3.3 miles along Frog Hop Road while the West Cemetery was 3.9 miles and said to follow an unused trail with the cemetery in the woods. After being at Withers Cemetery and taking a few pictures, Indiana Bones decided to see just exactly where this unused trail might be at 0.6 miles from the Withers Cemetery. Just about the location of the Tucker home (name on the mailbox) and a couple of old abandoned homes, was close to the point where the trail was supposed to be. With the passing of 46 years, that trail was long gone (the trail was probably an old logging road). [Continued below, click on photos for a larger image that will make it easier to see.]

 Cincinnati O. Williams (married William Ellis West) is buried in O'Daniel Cemetery.
 F. M. Cowan is buried in Cowan Cemetery which is not far from O'Daniel Cemetery.
 Indiana Bones posing by John G. West's  Grandfather Warner West's grave in Ebenezer Church Cemetery.
Becky West posing next to John G. West's Great Grandparents John William West and Hester A. Martin in Ebenezer Church Cemetery.
Indiana Bones in the Withers Cemetery south of Withers Branch of Buck Creek.
We decided to stop by the Tuckers and see if they might know about the West Cemetery – they were not at home! We went back toward Withers Cemetery to check with the few homes along there that might have someone that knew about an old abandoned cemetery in the woods. Indiana stopped in at Rick Maywald's home. We mentioned that we had been to Withers Cemetery, but was looking for a West Cemetery. Rick said: “I know where it is.” Indiana said that this was an old abandoned cemetery in the woods with the last known burial in 1913. Rick said: “I know where it is!” Indiana continued - stating that W.E. West, Francis M. West, Charlie P. West (brothers) and a few others were buried there. Rick said, “Yes, and C.P. West's wife is buried there and a few years ago after a big tree knocked down her grave marker we removed the tree and set the marker back up.” Indiana with a weak, cracking voice said, “you... actually... know... where this cemetery is?” “I can take you there” was the response, “it is on my father's property.” Rick is a very nice young man of about 35 years of age who suggested that Becky could visit with his mother while he took Indiana back through the cow pastures, ford a creek and follow a more “modern logging road” back to the cemetery. We were told that this Ovil area is rattlesnake infested! He had a nice John Deere “Gator” that was a great all-terrain vehicle to take us back there. It was a good distance to the dry creek bed (there has been very little rain for some time this year). The creek, by the way, is Weathers (Withers) Branch and we crossed over to the north side of it. We continued back into the woods quite a distance and suddenly, we saw a few tombstones a little ways to the left of us. IT WAS THE WEST CEMETERY!
 Above is one of the lost graves in the West Cemetery.  This is the grave marker of John G. West's Great, Great Grandfather William Ellis West born 1822 and died 1896.  Below Indiana bones is posing with the marker for W. E. West.
 Below you can just barely see some of the markers in the West Cemetery in the woods... photo taken from an old logging road.  Some of the markers look like tree trunks.  There is no fence or sign to help in seeing the cemetery.  The cemetery is located a long way from any sort of clearing like a field or pasture.
 Rick Maywald was my guide who took me back to the cemetery on a four-wheeled vehicle.  He is standing in the rocky dry bed of Withers Branch of Buck Creek.  When the water is flowing this area is a waterfall.  Rick was gratius enough to take the time for me to visit my Great Great Grandfather William Ellis West's grave.  The cemetery is located on his father's property and they clean it up from time to time to keep it from being completely over grown.  They have no family or connections to this cemetery, but since it is on their property they watch over it... God bless Rick and his parents for preserving this cemetery for a little longer!
Rick Maywald in the dry bed of withers Branch.
The tombstones are in remarkable shape and readable! Indiana Bones was clearly excited about the find, visibly shaking as he takes photos of John G. West's Great, Great Grandfather - William Ellis West's grave marker (W.E. West 1822-1896). The lost cemetery was no longer lost, thanks to Rick Maywald and his parents.  

- Written by Indiana Bones, a “Cemetery Geek”

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