Bethel Methodist Church Cemetery History

Mount Holly, Arkansas

*Copied from info posted at cemetery.

It is understood this cemetery was created in January, 1861, through the efforts of J. B. and M. A. Morgan. J. B. Morgan was an Elder of a Presbyterian Church. It is not clear when the church became a Methodist Church.

The church property and cemetery property are two separate parcels of land. The cemetery was originally considered to be a Presbyterian Cemetery as it was created by and for the Presbyterian Church. It has been assumed the cemetery was changed to a Methodist Cemetery but the legal records do not reflect an official change was ever made. There is written evidence the cemetery property was never deeded to Bethel Community Cemetery Association, Inc. The reason given was two-fold. First, cemeteries become public use area, unless they are private cemeteries, and become sort of public domain property. Second, a legal transfer of cemetery property becomes very difficult and entangled due to the fact that ownership does not remain in the family as private property. Cemeteries are under management of either Trustees or a Board of Directors; becomes very difficult to prove who the Trustees or Board Members were and attempt to determine who has authority to sign a cemetery deed as well as property considered as public property; not subject to transfer, and should be managed by a duly created Board of Directors.

While the 26 markers of Unknown Soldiers CSA are not dated; they are the earliest marked graves in the cemetery as they would have been made during the Civil War of 1861-1865. The oldest identifiable marker is that of Francis M. Thomas, who died January 10, 1868; followed by Edward N. Smith, August 20, 1869, and Arceles Smith, 1871.

The oldest identifiable person buried in the cemetery is J. B. Morgan, who was born in 1795. He did not die until February 11, 1888. Other older persons buried here are Arceles Smith, born 1800; M. A. Morgan, born April 17, 1803; Benjamin F. Moody, born August 24, 1805; and Martha Jane Warwick Smith, born 1805.

It is quite possible there are older persons and earlier burials; whose markers were of wood and have long since disappeared. It would seem a bit odd to createa cemetery some years before there was a burial. There is no way to prove it, but most likely the cemetery was created in January, 1861, to provide burial for some now unidentified person. Some of the older persons 50 to 60 years ago were aware of the CSA Soldiers and did not allow burials in that area of the cemetery. The CSA Soldier markers were erected in late 1990's. Due to the likelihood of other unmarked graves in the old part of the cemetery; caution is urged when considering a burial in that part of the cemetery and should be limited to spaces properly reserved by the family.

While there are several very old persons buried in the cemetery; it is sad to look at the markers of so many infants that died at birth or did not see their first birthday. Some families lost multiple infants. Your cemetery is a history book of the families of this area.

The cemetery was enlarged in 2010 and a new fence installed. This new fence, gates and stone columns were made possible by generous donations by members and friends of Bethel Community Cemetery Association, Inc. This is a beautiful and peaceful cemetery we can all be proud to call our own.

BETHEL CEMETERY

Managed and Maintained by

BETHEL COMMUNITY CEMETERY ASSOCIATION, INC.
"A Non-Profit Corporation with Section 501 (c) (3) status per a Certificate of Incorporation issued by the State of Arkansas on June 2, 1987 by W. J. "Bill" McCuen, Secretary of State; duly filed in Circuit Court of Union County, Arkansas on June 8, 1987 at El Dorado, Arkansas.
*Copied from postings by entry into cemetery,
June 2011. Janice Holzer

Since board members change & the office/ board position they hold, will from time to time; I have not copied or included that information into this document.