Death of a Cemetery

HISTORY OF THE CARTER FAMILY CEMETERY

Lavaca, Arkansas

The original homestead of W. B. Carter contained 120 acres.  On January 17, 1935, he conveyed 30 acres to W. B. Carter, Jr.,  that left a total of 90 acres remaining.  The legal description of the Carter Farm when it was sold in 1943 is:

TWP 8 N, Range 30W - NE ¼ of the SE ¼ of Sec. 34 and the NW ¼ of the SW ¼ of Sec. 35 and the N. 10 acres of the SW ¼ of the SW ¼ of Sec. 35, reserving a family burial ground forty feet square in the center of which is the tomb of William Carter.

This sale on June 3, 1943, was to E.A. & Willie Lou Patterson, husband and wife, and S. L. & Bulah Renfrow, husband and wife. It appears that the Patterson’s and the Renfrow’s subsequently divided the property and Renfrow sold his property on 4/10/78 which contained the cemetery and the pond.

The 9.77 acre parcel includes a single family dwelling at 1210 S. Division, Lavaca, AR 72941. The owner is listed Connie J. Chronister, Trustee. The pasture land of 35.00 acres is also listed at 1210 S. Division, Lavaca, AR 72941. The legal owners are listed as: Connie J. Chronister, Trustee and Darrell P. & wife Chronister.

I ordered copies of the deeds listed below which show a sale March 28, 1978, from Nolen E. Renfrow, acting as Executor of the Estate of Warren G. Renfrow, deceased, to Darrell P. Chronister and Connie J. Chronister, husband and wife, a total of 44.79 acres.  (The pond and cemetery are on this property.)

The legal description on this Fiduciary deed shows the legal description as:

Part of the Northeast Quarter, Southeast Quarter of Section 34, and part of the Northwest Quarter, Southwest Quarter, Section 35, and part of the Southwest Quarter, Southwest Quarter, Section 35, all being in Township 8, North, Range 30 West, Sebastian County, Arkansas, more particularly as follows:

Commencing at the Southeast corner of the Northeast Quarter, Southeast Quarter of said Section 34, said corner being the point and place of beginning; thence running West 330.0 feet thence North 330.0 feet thence East 330.0 feet thence North 255.0 feet; thence West 1311.08 feet to a point on the centerline of Arkansas Highway 255; thence North along said centerline 240.0 feet; thence East 2631.0 feet; thence South 0 degrees 16  minutes East 1155.03 feet; thence South 89 degrees 59 minutes 40 seconds West 1325.3 feet; thence North 330.0 feet to the point and place of beginning, containing 44.79 acres, less and except public road rights of way and any easements of record.

NOTE:  THE ABOVE LEGAL DESCRIPTION DOES NOT CONTAIN THE PHRASE RESERVING THE CEMETERY!  THEREFORE, DURING SUBSEQUENT SALES FROM 1943 TO 1978, THIS PROVISION WAS DELETED FROM THE DEEDS. 

Date

Book

Page

Legal

Acres

Parcel

           

12/6/2000

QCD

 

PT NE SE

 

69359-0182-00000-00

4/10/1978

284

90

PT NE SE

1.00

 

4/10/1978

284

88

PT NE SE

8.77

 
           

12/6/2006

QCD

 

PT SW SW & PT NW SW

35.00

69359-0206-00000-00

4/10/1978

584

90

PT SW SW & PT NW SW

35.00

 

On the original Carter Farm was a pond and the small cemetery containing the tomb of William Brown Carter and graves of two of his infant children. The two infants were buried in the ground, without markers, and W.B. Carter was buried in the tomb above ground, also unmarked. The tomb consisted of very huge slabs of rock about 12" thick. (See photo 1) At December 2006, location of what remains of the cemetery is: 1210 S. Division, Lavaca, AR 72941. (See photos 2 & 3)

Obit of William Brown Carter - Source: Southwest American Newspaper, Fort Smith, AR

April 1, 1940 - William Brown Carter Lavaca, AR  March 31 - Special funeral services for William Brown Carter, 80 years old, farmer of near Lavaca who died at the home Saturday night was conducted at the residence Sunday at 3:00 p.m. Rev. J. B. Ray, Methodist minister of Lavaca officiated. Burial was at the Carter Cemetery.

Survivors include his wife, two sons, Billy and Guy Carter of Lavaca and two daughters, Miss Eva Carter of the home and Mrs. Virgil Langford.

Right:  Photo 1
Blanche Olivia (Brown) Carter widow of William Brown Carter





Buried in the Carter Cemetery were:

1. William Brown Carter, born 2-3-1860 in Bates County MO. died Mar 30, 1940 in Lavaca AR. He is buried in a tomb above ground. (Attached is a photo of my grandmother (Blanche Olivia (Brown) Carter standing in front of the tomb - Photo 1)  He is the great grandson of Charles Carter of  "Shirley", Charles City, VA. born 1732.
2. Nora Lavenia Carter, born 6-23-1896 in Lavaca, AR - died 10-10-1897 in Lavaca, AR.
3. Dibber Carter, born 12-9-1898 in Lavaca, AR - died 1-2-1899 in Lavaca, AR.

Left:  Photo 2 - All that is left of the cemetery.



June 2000. - Vernon Carter talked to a Mr. Herman Hobbs in Lavaca, AR and he showed Vernon the cemetery on the old farm which was still there, fenced off from the surrounding homes. Mr. Hobbs also provided his and his daughters telephone numbers for contact purposes. It appears the tomb was not demolished until after June 2000. (Mr. Hobbs is the father of the current owner Connie Chronister.)

November 30, 2006 - When I telephoned Connie J. Chronister, daughter of Herman Hobbs, she stated that she was aware of a cemetery with one grave on it, but she doesn’t know what happened to the tomb, nor the rocks or the bones of my grandfather. She also stated that they had owned the property for 30 years.

As of this date, December 2, 2006, I presume that the two infants are still buried there since they were buried underground. (See photo 2) As to my Grandfather’s remains, we don’t know. When the stones were removed, the remains of my Grandfather and perhaps some remnants of the casket were obviously uncovered, but we do not know what was done with these remains by the person who razed the cemetery.

Right:  Photo 3 - Map of the location of the Carter Cemetery.

June (Carter) Coyle

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