THE DESTRUCTION OF THE HARRELL NEWTON

FAMILY CEMETERY:

*Est. ca 1857

Union County, Arkansas

 

A little bit of its history from the files of J. Holzer

jholzer321@att.net Originally posted  (11/24/2012)

This posting, updated and posted Sept 2016.

 

also included

The 1938 Zenia Culp Interview of her life with the Newtons

{Zenia was born a slave on the Newton plantation & lived her whole life there}

 

A little background on the Newtons

The Harrell Newton Family Cemetery was located on what once was the farm &

home of Harrell Newton, then passed on to his son, William Baker Newton. 

Later part of it would become known as the Dunbar place. 

There were some slaves buried in the family plot or near by.

The main proof of this was part of the family lore passed along over the years. 

The following brothers migrated to Arkansas:

Green Newton, Harrell Newton, Isaac Newton, John Newton. 

Isaac ended up residing in Louisiana.

 

The John Newton house is a museum in El Dorado. 

This site, covered in the photos here, was located less than 2 miles from the

intersection of Hwys. 82 east & 16 south. 

The former cemetery & land were located about 300' off the South side of Hwy. 82

(aka Strong Hwy.) & bordered on the east side by a dirt lane, named Dunbar Lane. 

[As of 2012, a Jehovah Witness Church had been built on the south east corner

off Hwy. 82, at Dunbar Lane]

These three tombstones were in pristine condition, prior to their removal &

the clearing of the land around them.

There was a cable & post fence that ran around this small plot & a rose bush

amidst the undergrowth, plus bulbs that came up every spring, outlining the graves.

 

At the end of this series of photos, are pictures of the tombstones in their new location

at Woodlawn Cemetery, on Champagnolle Road, in El Dorado.

You can see the damage to the tombstones & note the fact that the bases were left behind.

These monuments were stuck into the dirt or atop it, with no base foundation. 

J. Newton, a direct descendant of Harrell Newton's has the original receipts for the

tombstones which were shipped from New Orleans. Mr. Newton, who resides in New York

was most distressed to find out what had become of his ancestor's family cemetery,

since he had at one time, in the1980’s, offered to buy the land to protect it,

but was told it was protected by law.  The first time a realtor sign was placed

on the property offering it for sale, back in the early 1990’s, Mr. Newton was alerted

by a cousin living in El Dorado that the property was for sale. He attempted to purchase

the land, but they would not respond to his offers and or phone calls, etc.

Once this came to his attention, he did engage an attorney & attempted to have

the headstones relocated to a cemetery of his choice & the monuments repaired.

It became a very expensive losing battle, unless he wanted to

pour more money into the fight.  The owner of the land wanted to sell the land

& the cemetery was in his way; he made no attempt to contact any of the Newton relatives

& even though most thought it was protected by law, eliminating a cemetery was an

easy enough task accomplished, because the agency that protects them,

cannot possibly oversee all small cemeteries scattered throughout the state.

They usually must rely on local authorities to see that the preservation

of these cemeteries are seen to. No attempt was made to locate remains or

remove them, which a particular procedure is required by Arkansas law.

The photos with the bulbs erupting in green (which perfectly outlined

each grave, went undisturbed. A public notice is suppose to be given

for 3 weeks, by law, before destroying a cemetery. The owner posted it for

one day, in the local newspaper and that was the day he went before the local judge

 to get the final permission he needed. 

Again, it is easily accomplished, with no one

being the wiser. Many of these old family cemeteries are now standing

where the land has been sold several times over the years. They are forgotten

until an old land plat/survey catches some one's eye or a relative's memory is jogged &

 they pass along the location of these little cemeteries.

I will not get into all the details, but a brief mention, I felt, was necessary

 to go along with this posting, which I am only posting so that it will be

there for generations to come, who are descendants of the Newton family.

 

There are two other Newton family cemeteries in Union County.

The Green Newton Cemetery & the Newton-Dunaway Cemetery.

Both are located on private property. 

The Green Newton Cemetery had the large obelisk tombstone, marking Green's

grave stolen many years ago. Sections of the wrought iron fence have also

disappeared with time.  As time marches on many of the old tombstones are

 not faring too well.

However, there are a couple of local descendants of this family

who try to get by there now & then to check on things.

 

PICTURES before the land was cleared & the cemetery removed.(2004)

I believe the land was cleared around the cemetery about 2003, making the cemetery

visible from the highway. I have no pictures from that time.  It was a jungle & most

folks did not know the little cemetery was there.

The 1st photos, I have of the Newton Cemetery were taken in Mar 2004,

but not posted online until 2005.  Further along in this narration,

there are pictures of the cemetery, once the destruction began. I live

over a hundred miles away, so the first I knew was a passerby, alerted me

with an email, because they had seen my postings of various cemeteries online.

 

▲In the photo above, you can see the two strands of cable that ran around the

perimeter of the plot.

            

(2) Mar 2004:  The front of the tombstones are facing west.

                Note the green at the left side of Harrell Newton's headstone. 

On the opposite right end of the row is baby Penelope's grave obscured by a green bush. 

Note the close proximity of the saplings growing around these headstones.

Toward the bottom of the photo, you can see the cables that ran around the

perimeter of the cemetery /plot. 

At this time, the woods & all the undergrowth, surrounding the cemetery had been cleared away.

 It would remain like this until a year or so later, when the land was put on the market.....

approximately 10 acres, with the cemetery on a small knoll almost in the center of the land.

Before the land was cleared, the cemetery was invisible because of all the undergrowth & trees.

 

(3) Mar 2004:▼▲Close-up of Harrell Newton's headstone with pink chalk on it. 

Dunbar Lane in background of picture which runs along the eastern edge of the

property off of Hwy. 82 east.

 

 

 

 

 

(4)  Mar 2004 Above in the middle, is William Baker Newton 

▼ 2 yr old Penelope Newton 1855-1857 on south end of row.

Wm. Baker Newton to left & in the center between Penelope & Harrell Newton.

 

 

 

(5) Mar 2004 ▼L-R: Harrell, William Baker and Penelope Newton

* The original headstones actually faced west, instead of the more traditional east.

These pictures along with the relocated damaged monuments, demonstrate what a

sloppy job was done.

The following are the last pictures taken before these monuments were removed &

relocated in Woodlawn Cemetery, El Dorado, Arkansas.

Pictures of Newton Family Cemetery in 2004  and the remains in 2006.

 

February 2006: It is with great sadness, that I bring news of the destruction of this cemetery.

The 3 monuments have been moved to Woodlawn Cemetery in El Dorado.

They are now located in the southwest corner of Woodlawn facing, Mosby Street

(almost directly across from the church).

I am posting pictures of the monuments in their new location and the current view

of what was the cemetery. The larger obelisk had a fair amount of damage done to it in the

relocation process. The smaller headstone for the child was broken off even with the ground

and re-implanted in the dirt. All the original bases for these three monuments were left behind

at the old cemetery, so the tombstones were reinstalled in/on the bare dirt.

Mr. Jay Newton,a direct descendant, told me that he has the original receipts for the

purchase of these monuments. They were bought and shipped up the river from New Orleans.

Had it not been for the vigilance of a passer-by, who alerted me to what was happening

to the old cemetery, I would not have known.

It did take some effort on my part and that of others to find out where the monuments

had been re-located to.

*This was from my earlier posting on this cemetery on the Rootsweb site.

*L-R: Harrel Newton – Wm. Baker Newton – Penelope Newton

{Penelope D/of  Harrell Newton}

 

18 month old Penelope Newton Oct 17, 1855 to  Apr 17, 1857

 

Harrell Newton 9/1/1818  to  7/20/1866

Brother to Green Newton.

 

 

William Baker Newton aka "Billy"

 

 

 

 

 

*Front to back: Harrell, Wm., Penelope▼

 

 

  Harrel – middle, Wm. B. (aka Billy) – Penelope Newton ▼

 

(01)  Feb 19 2006   Remains of what was the Newton Family cemetery

and the bases that were left behind for each of the three headstones. 

I believe this is looking east toward Dunbar lane.

 

*In my opinion these views of the remains of the original cemetery lead me to believe,

that the location of the bases in these photos are not where they were originally,

but had no doubt been moved about.  Funny how they moved them about, but

would not make the effort to take them along and re-install them beneath

the monuments.  They just broke Penelope’s stone off, rather than

trying to excavate the base, which was a small simple headstone to deal with.

   

                 (1)  Remains of a base visible                        (2)Looking  southwest from graves.

 

(03) Feb 2006:    Base for Harrell Newton's monument. 

Note the sprigs of green…. these are jonquils or Narcissus bulbs that have sprouted ..

*In some of the pictures the erupting green sprigs appear to be in a perfect rectangular

outline.  In the old photo, taken a few weeks later in the year, the only possible green

sprigs appearing,  are at the base of Harrell's stone, but they appear no where else. 

It was later in the year, so these should have appeared as they did below….

to me this indicates that the bases are not in the original location.

 

(04)  Feb 2006: ▼ Covered with dirt (to the right of the marble square,

are the remains of the base broken off of Penelope's headstone. 

The slab of marble lying behind it is is the base pieces for one of the

obelisk belonging to Harrell or Wm. B. Newton.

 

(05)  Feb 2006: ▼ Below you can see the broken base part of Penelope's headstone:

 the ??? piece of marble:  and in the background the larger base for Harrell's tombstone.

(06)  Feb 2006: ▼ In this picture you can see the base for Harrell's headstone

and I believe, the partially exposed base for Wm. Baker Newton

                 

                                        (07)  Feb 2006: ▼                           (08)  Feb 2006: ▼

  

(09)  Feb 2006: 

*Purple is one of the highest spiritual colors, with white being above, the purest of colors,

usually signifying the Great Spirit (God).

Purple is found in the third eye when someone has had a specifically

spiritual awakening or experience.

The orb could be from sunlight filtering through the trees and reflecting back on your lens,

or it could very well be a spirit.

*  These photos taken on Feb 19, 2006, were all taken between 3:30 p.m. & 5 p.m. CST

The above comment about the purple orb was sent to me by the person who had taken this photo.

***************************

 

Continued to Woodlawn Cemetery.

Mr. Newton resides in New York & spent a lot of money to try rectify what was done

to his family's graves, etc., but the damage was done & the owner of the land

refused to give Mr. Newton the deed to these grave sites, nor would he remove the bases &

place them beneath the monuments. The land is still for sale & I keep thinking that it would be

justice if it never sells, since his excuse was the cemetery cost him the sale of the property.

 

Pictures of the Newton monuments installed in Woodlawn Cemetery, El Dorado. (2006)

The street in the background is North Molsby which runs off of Champagnolle Rd.

Out of sight but to the left of this photo is the main entrance into Arlington Memorial Park Cemetery....at the entrance the middle section has a flag pole which sort of divides Arlington & Woodlawn Cemetery.

 

The white spots are chunks/chips in the marble of the monuments. Penelope's headstone

was broken off at ground level, leaving behind the base & buried in the dirt here.

 

 

 

 

Church is out of sight in this photo, but it is to the right across North Molsby Street.

This picture was taken farther back...the three headstones are on the right side of the curve.

Note: no bases, just sitting in or on top of the bare dirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

       Looking northeast with Molsby street behind me.

 

Close-ups of the damage done to the headstones.

 

 

 

 

 

The following information is miscellaneous information on the Newton family,

that some of you may find useful, if you are researching this family.

By Janice Holzer  jholzer321@att.net

 

HARRELL NEWTON   9-1-1818  to 7-20-1866 "Father"

 

WILLIAM BAKER NEWTON   1855 to 11-18-1924 (WOW marker)

* W.B. Newton md: *2nd wife, Pearl Parnell 1906, Book P-18, Union Co., AR

*W.B. Newton,45, El Dorado, Union Co., AR to Mrs. Pearl Parnell, 32, El Dorado, Union Co., AR

Md: by J.F. McKenzie  20 Dec 1906 ;  Recorded 24 Dec 1906  Book P-Page 181

*T.E. Adams security

 

PENELOPE NEWTON   10-17-1855 to 4-17-1857

 

 

This Newton Family Cemetery was located just southeast of  El Dorado;

about 400 ft. off of Hwy. 82 East

(about 2 miles from the junction of  Hwy. 82 and Hwy. 167 south)..

DAR inventoried this cemetery many years ago.

Until the fall of 2003, it was almost impossible to get to this little cemetery without crawling on

all fours, through a heavy undergrowth of vines, bushes, briars, etc. The cemetery was completely

hidden in the jungle of plant growth. Someone clear-cut the surrounding (approx. 5 to 7 acres) area,

in order to sell the timber, where the cemetery is located.

You can still see in the photos the growth of vines, trees, etc. at the cemetery.

There once were  strands of large cable, looped between wooden post,

surrounding the little cemetery.

There were roses growing in with all the tangle of vines and bushes.

There were three graves with two large obelisk tombstones for the two males

& a smaller standard type tombstone for the female. These tombstones were in excellent

condition, but there were plenty of saplings & vines all around them.

They were surrounded by four old wooden post, connected by a steel cable.  Most of the

post had rotted, but at least 3 of the corner post were still standing & the "cabled - off"

area (about 14' x 14')was sagging. There were only 3 graves visible. William Baker Newton

who had the smaller WOW headstone, in the middle; Harrell Newton who had the largest obelisk

(*you can see pink chalk on his obelisk which I used in order to try to get a better photo of it);

the third small stone belonged to Penelope Newton, a 2 yr. old child.

 

 

 

Interviewer: Mrs. Carol Graham, El Dorado Division

Person interviewed:   Zenia Culp

Age: Over 80      [Jan 29 1938]

 

["Billy Newton" is aka William B. Newton(1855-1924)

son of Harrel Newton(1818-1966) Owners of the plantation that

ZENIA CULP was born on & grew up on. The family she referred to,

below in her interview, were William Baker Newton aka "Billy" her

child she was nursemaid to and Pearl Newton, Billy's wife. Briefly

mentioned was, John Gipson Dunbar(1870-1924), my maternal

grandfather's half-brother, & the purchaser of part of the land

that once belonged to the Newton Plantation / Family.

*This note added by J. Holzer]

 

"Yas'm, my name is Zenia, Zenia Culp 'tis now since I married. My old

master's name was Billy Newton. Him and three more brothers come

here and settled in this county years ago and Master Billy settled this farm.

I was born and raised here and ain't never lived nowheres else. I used to be

nurse girl and lived up at the big house. You know up there where Mr. John

Dunbar's widow lives now. And the family burying groun' is jus'

a little south of the house where you sees them trees and tomb

stones out in the middle of the field.

 

"Master Billy's folks was so good to me and I sure thought a heap of

young Master Billy. Believe I told you I was the nurse girl.

Well, young Master Billy was my special care. And he was a live one too.

I sure had a time keepin' up wid that young rascal. I would get him ready

for bed every night. In summer time he went barefoot like all little chaps

does and course I would wash his foots before I put him to bed. That little

fellow would be so sleepy sometime that he would say: 'Don't wash em,

Zenia, jes' wet em.' Oh, he was a sight, young Master Billy was.

 

"Does you know Miss Pearl? She live there in El Dorado.

She is young master's widow. Miss Pearl comes out to see me

sometime and we talks lots bout young Master Billy.

 

"Yas'm, I'se always lived here where I was born. Never moved way

from de old plantation. Course things is changed lots since the days

when old Master Billy was livin'. When he went off to the war he took

most of the men black folks and the womens stayed home to take care

of mistress and the chillun.

 

"My husban' been dead a long, long time and I live here wid my son.

His wife is gone from home dis evenin'. So I thought I'd come out

and pick off some peanuts jes' to git out in the sunshine awhile. That's my

son out there makin' sorghum. My daughter-in-law is so good to me.

She treats me like I was a baby.

 

"You asks me to tell you something bout slave days, and how we done

our work then. Well, as I tell you, my job was nurse girl and all I had

to do was to keep up wid young Master Billy and that wasn't no work

tall, that was just fun. But while I'd be followin' roun' after him I'd see

how the others would be doin' things.

 

"When they gathered sweet potatoes they would dig a pit and line it with

straw and put the tatoes in it then cover them with straw and build a

coop over it. This would keep the potatoes from rotting. The Irish

potatoes they would spread out in the sand under the house and

the onions they would hand up in the fence to keep them from rotting.

 

"In old Master Newton's day they didn' have ice boxes and they

would put the milk and butter and eggs in buckets and let

em down in the well to keep em cool.

 

"Master's niggers lived in log houses down at de quarters but they was

fed out of the big house. I members they had a long table to eat off and

kept hit scoured so nice and clean with sand and ashes and they scoured

the floors like that too and it made em so purty and white. They made

their mops cut of shucks. I always eat in the nursery with young

Master Billy.

 

"They had big old fireplaces in Master's house and I never seen a

stove till after the war.

 

"I member bein' down at the quarters one time and one of the

women had the sideache and they put poultices on her made out of

shucks and hot ashes and that sho'ly did ease the pain.

 

"The pick-a-ninnies had a time playin'. Seein' these peanuts

minds me that they used to bust the ends and put them on

their ears for ear rings.  Course Master Billy had to try it too,

then let out a howl cause they pinched.

 

"Lan', but them was good old days when Master Billy was alive."

 

 

 

 

*Due to recent info sent to me by descendant's of the Newton family, it has come to my attention,

that there is another cemetery located a few miles southeast of this one, in the Hillsboro area,

the Green Newton Family Cemetery. Some of the folks listed here and mentioned above

(without markers) are most likely buried at the Green Newton Family Cemetery,

which is located on private property in the Hillsboro area.

The cemetery is located on private property.

I have been told that once there was a huge obelisk on Green

Newton's grave, which one day just disappeared????

There is a small fence around this cemetery.  Some relatives tell me that

they visit now & then to try & tidy up things & to keep an eye on it.

I am told that the fence is rapidly disappearing.

 

 

MISCELLANEOUS  NEWTON  INFO

 

 

GEORGE  BUCHANAN 1883 to 1923

 

ELIZABETH  JANE  NEWTON 6-8-1813 to 11-2-1860

Md: 2-28-1830 *wife of Green Newton

 

ROBERT  D.  NEWTON 1846 to 1916 "Our brother & sister with him"

 

SUSAN  ELIZABETH  MARRABLE  NEWTON 7-27-1848 to 10-11-1895

*wf/of Robert D. Newton

 

 

EMILY G. TATUM 8-1-1831 to 11-2-1860 Age 17 yrs-1 mo-7 dys

daug/of  GREEN & JANE NEWTON. Wife of JOHN B. TATUM

* The above is evidently wrong. Her correct age should have been 29 yrs old.

Emily married John B. Tatum in 1846, Book A-003B, Union County,AR

John Tatum, Union Co.,AR   to  Emily Newton, Union Co.,AR ,  by C.B. Landers,

Minister of  Primitive Baptist Church,  19 Nov 1846.  Consent of Parties and Parents.

Book A  Page 003

 

* Mrs. Penelope C. Newton md: Obadiah Lamar 1863, Book B-282, Union County, Ar.

Obadiah Lamar(54) of Union Co., AR to  Mrs. Penelope C. Newton (50) Union Co., AR

by Wm. C. Langford, JP also Judge of the County Court  4 Nov 1858.  Recorded 17 Sep 1863

(Book B-Page 204)

 

JOHN  NEWTON (1805 - 1851)  married Penelope  G. (nee ?) (1813-1875)

John built a grand house in El Dorado for Penelope, his bride.  He died soon after it

was finished. It is now a museum.  Penelope married as her 2nd husband, Obadiah Lamar .

Penelope and several other Newton's are buried in the Newton-Dunaway cemetery,

now on private property, located in heavy woods off Champagnolle Road.