Coffey Boy Scouts

--Photo by Cindy Feinberg, 2005

Coffey Cemetery

Pangburn, Arkansas

Once known as Walnut Hill, this cemetery was first listed by Cloie Presley of the White County Historical Society and her 12-year-old nephew, James Snowden, on New Year’s Day, 1963, and published in the White County Heritage later that year.  Coffey Cemetery - which she described as “still being used but receives very little care” - is about three and a half miles east of Pangburn, about a quarter-mile off State Road 124.

Following Mrs. Presley’s death in 2004, an unpublished write up on this cemetery was found in her papers.  She entitled it “FOREST HILL  -(Now Coffey) CEMETERY” and based much of her
Coffey Cemetery

Coffey Cemetery Graves

report on information that was given to her by Austin Yingling, “who lived almost all his life about ¼ mile from this cemetery on land settled by his grandfather about 1845.”  She stated that in the late summer of 1978 J.W. Snowden asked to meet him and Austin Yingling at the Coffey Cemetery to try to find the grave of his grandfather, Elisha Snowden.  “This was called Forest Hill Cemetery,” Mrs. Presley’s report stated, “and had an arch over the entrance with the name.  The oldest graves were nos. 112, 113 and 114 and he never knew anyone who had any idea who they were.  They were covered with rocks but people have taken rocks from these graves for head and foot markers for later graves until only an outline pen is left.  In land transactions someone objected to allowing the land for the cemetery.  Albert Stahle, C.E. Doyle and Austin Yingling paid $25 for the land for the cemetery. He wondered if the deed was ever recorded.  There was nothing where he remembered Elisha Snowden was buried but he said it was at the foot of the grave of Elijah Richardson and he had marked a rock E.R. when Richardson was buried.  He used a screwdriver to cut the initials in a rock. From this list and the chart we located this marked stone back in the un cleaned area and the place he had picked for Elisha Snowden was at the foot of it.  There are also two other graves north of Elisah Snowden, his daughter -(?) Page an Lee Page.  Austin did not think Charlie Harris was the oldest grave there.  He said Mrs. Harris was related to the Coffeys and when she died he was the only person that came to dig the grave and he dug the entire grave alone.  Note he carved an “H” and is the only marker she has ever had.”

Mrs. Presley attached a rough drawing to her report, on which she numbered the graves.  The numbers corresponded to numbers beside the names on her list.  The map was very dim but strengthened by the White County Historical Society in 2005 and added to the end of this cemetery listing.  Thanks to information provided by Austin Yingling, the map confirmed for the first time in many years the grave sites of William Doyle and his three wives, the Yingling sisters.  He also identified the graves of the son of James Yingling, son of Mack Castleberry, Virgil Williams, Mildred Williams, Maxilee Williams, Della Doyle Williams and infant of Della Doyle Williams.  The Historical Society has added the grave number /(in parenthesis) beside each name where it is known.  The graves on the map that did not have tombstones were marked with rocks.

 Note the additional article by Mrs. Presley, written 30 years later, which appears at the end of this listThe Wise family members were added to this list in June 2000 by the Historical Society after receiving documentation from descendents Wanda Wise Thompson and Naomi Townsend of Pangburn.

The cemetery was overgrown and in poor shape in December 2004 when it was visited by Leroy Blair, chairman of the White County Historical Society’s cemetery committee.  He had first come to the site August 31, 2000.  He found 15 graves that were not listed in the Presley report and counted 70 unmarked graves. He reported at that time, “Very recently, people have started cleaning up the cemetery.  But it still needs more work.” 

The cemetery and nearby Coffey Family Cemetery were cleaned by Little Rock Boy Scout Troop 227 in October 2005.  The project was planned and directed by Neil Feinberg, a 227 member, as part of is application to become an eagle Scout (See photo above.) Also as this time, a headstone containing the names of William Doyle and his three wives was placed in the cemetery.  The stone was paid from donations made by descendents of William Doyle.

Blair provided these directions:  “To get to this cemetery from Pangburn, go about 3.5 miles east on Highway 124 to Ramsey Access Road to the Little Red River.  Turn left and go about a quarter-mile, then turn left on a dirt road leading up the hill.  The cemetery is at the end of this road.”   Blair was unable to find 20 graves that were listed in the Presley report:  Anna, B.P., Elaine Doyle, Elizabeth Doyle, Katherine Doyle, E.R., H., Charley Harris, J.C.K., K. and M.K., Leona P., Nellie H., P., Sherrod, Stahley daughter, W., W.E.D., W.W.D., Mrs. A.M. Williams, and Chester Yingling.  According to the Presley report, most of these had been marked with carved rocks.
If you have corrections or additions to this list or other information on Coffey Cemetery, please contact the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.
NAME BIRTH DEATH COMMENT ROW
Annie carved on rock, badly broken (#23 on map)
B.P. carved on rock (#79 on map)
Broadwater, Jennie November 23, 1873 15-May-01 wife of Presley Broadwater (#87 on map)
Castleberry, son of Mack Castleberry unmarked grave (#4 on map)
Culum, Elmer O. - August 22, 1899 15-Jan-16 son of A.E. and Anna Culum (#43 on map)
Davenport, Benjamin Franklin 1848 1886 on double stone with Tabitha Frances Davenport (#89 on map)
Davenport, Booth September 1, 1879 July 21, 1895 - son of B.F. & T.F. Davenport (#88 on map)
Davenport, Tabitha Frances 1847 1942 on double stone with Benjamin Franklin Davenport (#90 on map)
Dobbins, Johnnie April 7, 1872 12-Feb-15 Woodman (#14 on map)
Doyle, Elaine Yingling died 1875 first wife of William Doyle
Doyle, Elizabeth Yingling Parsons - second wife of William Doyle unmarked grave
Doyle, Howard Eugene - 13-Aug-09 14-Sep-09 son of L.A. & L.E. Doyle (#64 on map)
Doyle, Katherine Jenkins Yingling, third wife of William Doyle unmarked
Doyle, Michael S. May 22, 1869 25-Oct-54 funeral home marker (#53 on map)
Doyle, Minnie B. - October 13, 1873 17-Jan-20 wife of Michael Doyle (#54 on map)
Doyle, Sarah Laney 14-Aug-15 9-Sep-15 daughter of Edgar and Effie Doyle (#65 on map)
Doyle, W.E. 1870 1918
Doyle, W.M. Drew 1-Feb-16 1-Jul-17
Doyle, William 1840 December 30, 1883 unmarked grave (he and three wives are #57, 58, 59 & 60 on map)
E.R. carved on rock (#67 on map)
Griffin, Howard W. 7-Aug-01 25-Jul-02 son of S.W. and S.A. Griffin (#29 on map)
Griffin, William Irwin December 11, 1897 April 5, 1898 (#30 on map)
H carved on rock (#25 on map)
Harris, Charley carved on rock (#24 on map)
Hilger, Catherine January 12, 1807 July 21, 1878 on double stone with John Hilger (#28 & #27 on map)
Hilger, John June 12, 1802 December 7, 1852 Father of N.B. Hilger on double stone with Catherine Hilger (#27 & #28 on map)
Hilger, Nancy February 27, 1843 23-Oct-23 on stone with Unsells
Howell, Mrs. Zero R. November 9, 1851 29-May-17 (#33 on map)
Howell, William E. October 29, 1849 19-Apr-13 (#34 on map)
J.C. and possibly K - carved on front of rock (#18 on map)
Jenkins, M.M. July 2, 1883 January 9, 1898 broken stone - wife of W.W. Jenkins (#1 on map)
K - carved on front of rock - M.K. on top (#17 on map)
King, Conna M. 24-Oct-01 4-Sep-02 daughter of J.T. and S.C. King (#8 on map)
King, Mary E. July 28, 1879 15-Apr-10 - wife of W.E. King (#19 on map)
Leona P. carved on rock (#68 on map)
Nellie H. carved on rock (#22 on map)
P carved on rock (#69 on map)
Pierce, Bynum M. 21-May-07 19-Nov-25 (#12 on map)
Pierce, J.M. March 31, 1868 22-Jan-15 (#11 on map)
Pierce, Luther H. 29-Nov-02 7-Dec-02 - son of J.M. and J.A. Pierce (#10 on map)
Pollard, Alvin - 20-Mar-01 30-Nov-01 son of T.J. and M.C. Pollard (#76 on map)
Pollard, Anet April 16, 1895 July 11, 1895 daughter of T.J. and M.C. Pollard (#75 on map)
Pollard, Leonia 30-Dec-04 2-Feb-05 - daughter of B.F. and M.J. Pollard (#77 on map)
Pollard, Lugenia October 10, 1894 June 15, 1896 daughter of T.J. and M.C. Pollard (#74 on map)
Pollard, Walker January 15, 1875 5-Dec-18
Pollard, Willie 29-Jun-02 Apr-29
Reaves, John Marion no other information Co. B. Miss. Cav. CSA (#98 on map)
Reaves, Venia Elizabeth July 12, 1866 25-Apr-03 wife of P.A. Reaves (#106 on map)
Richardson, Elijah February 1850 Jan-16 15 Ark. Inf. 33 Ark. Regt. CSA
Sherrod children of W.T. & Ida Sherrod - unmarked graves
Snowden children of J.W. & Delia Snowden - unmarked graves
Snowden, Elisha unmarked grave (X on map at foot of #67)
Stahle, George February 13, 1855 9-Apr-15 on double stone with Lizzie Stahle (#48 & #47 on map)
Stahle, Lizzie August 2, 1861 23-Mar-23 double stone with George (#47 & #48 on map)
Stahle, Philip July 29, 1882 12-Feb-30 (#46 on map)
Stahley, daughter of Albert & Cassie Stahley - could not read stone (#108 on map)
Unsell, Bryant April 9, 1836 27-Feb-02 (#37 on map)
Unsell, Fred T. July 20, 1880 November 5, 1888 - son of Bryant & Nancy Unsell (#38 on map)
Unsell, Mary E. “Mollie” June 19, 1871 23-Jan-51 (#35 on map)
W carved on rock (#49 on map)
W.E.D. W.E.D. and cross carved on rock (#45 on map)
W.W.D. (or W.D.D.) - carved on rock (#61 on map)
Williams, infant of Della Doyle Williams ( #55 on map)
Williams, Della Doyle 1896 1949 ( #52 on map)
Williams, Max on granite stone with Della Doyle Williams ( #51 on map)
Williams, Mildred on granite stone with Della Doyle Williams ( #50 on map)
Williams, Mrs. A.M. died March 16, 1949 age 52 (#52 on map)
Williams, Virgle on granite stone with Della Doyle Williams ( #49 on map)
Wise, Hatie Elizabeth February 17, 1883 November 21, 1892
Wise, James A. March 29, 1885 August 5, 1887 has two stones
Wise, John Franklin August 7, 1846 11-Jun-18 has two stones (#94 on map)
Wise, Margaret Ellen February 26, 1847 8-Feb-22 has two stones
Wise, Mary Emmer August 29, 1874 November 10, 1892 has two stones one reads Emma
Yingling, son of James Yinglingunmarked grave (#3 on map)
Yingling, Chester - 15-Mar-07 21-Mar-07 son of W.W. and M.A. Yingling (#5 on map)
Yingling, James F. died December 21, 1955 age 75 years, 11 months, 24 days - funeral home marker ( #4 on map)
Yingling, James Worley 10-Oct-18 blank on double stone with Martha Ann Yingling
Yingling, Louis 1849 1914 on double stone with Sarah E. Yingling (#6 on map)
Yingling, Martha Ann 21-Aug-29 blank on double stone with James Worley Yingling
Yingling, Myrtle Buice October 28, 1888 28-Dec-71 on double stone with James F. Yingling
Yingling, Sarah E. 1855 1900 (on double stone with Louis Yingling)

 

Coffey Cemetery Map

THE TRAIL OF ELIJAH RICHARDSON

By Cloie Presley

Cloie Presley was a charter member of the White County Historical Society and editor of the organization’s White County Heritage for many years. She retired as editor and an active researcher in 1997. She died November 16, 2004. The following was published in the 1993 Heritage.

January 1, 1963, my husband was with family and friends watching the football game. There are very few things that I would rate less entertaining than a football game, and besides it was a beautiful day to get out and walk and explore.

I knew just the partner I wanted for the afternoon and went by for my 12-year-old nephew, James Snowden. He had been hunting and fishing since he was big enough to ride in the boat with his father. I found him fishing in a stock pond, but he was ready to go with me.

We went to Coffey Cemetery about 3 ½ miles east of Pangburn and about ¼ mile north off Highway 124, in Section 5, Township 9 North, Range 7 West. This was one of the very earliest cemeteries in the area and there was an arch over the entrance with the name "Walnut Hill." That had been gone for many years and now it was overgrown with bushes and briars and very few graves showed any care. It was now known as Coffey Cemetery. We found 83 graves with some markings and 63 with no markings at all but could be identified as graves.

This afternoon is one of my special memories. We spent the whole afternoon and listed every possible marking and I made a map of the cemetery with all marked and unmarked graves. "Like a rabbit in a brier patch," was a good description of James. He waded the briers, read the markers and picked up pieces of broken stones and placed them together to read them. Many would have been missed if he had not waded where we "could not go." The entire list was published in the White County Heritage, 1967 - Volume 4, page 92. But this is not the end of the story.

Austin Yingling lived on the south side of Highway 124, just opposite to the the road to Coffey Cemetery. This was the place where his grandfather, Sebastian Yingling, settled when he came from Flomersheim, Germany, to White County, Arkansas, about 1845. Austin knew the community well and had many friends and relatives buried in Coffey Cemetery. He had dug many graves there and in some cases, no one came to help him. He told J.W. Snowden, the father of James, that he could show him where his grandfather, Elisha Snowden, was buried. I was invited to meet them at the cemetery on Sunday afternoon. The cemetery was in much better condition than when I first visited but was still not completely cleaned. Austin could not find the Snowden grave. He said, "There is a rock here that has E.R. carved. I carved it with my screwdriver when he was buried. I didn’t figure anyone would ever come back."

I had my map. We located E.R. and then the Snowden grave. Elisha Snowden’s grave is now marked with a tombstone.

Right by where the road goes in there are several big rocks. I had thought perhaps there had been a small building there, but Austin said the rocks were there when the first settlers came, and they covered graves. Through the years rocks had been taken away to mark the end and foot of other graves. No one knew the identity of the first burials.

We toured the whole cemetery and he pointed out many graves of people he had known and information about them. He identified E.R. as Elijah Richardson. Somehow the name means more than E.R. …Since that time he keeps appearing in my research and the amazing thing is he was in Valley Township, Van Buren County  (Cleburne). My family has lived there for 150 years. I have not found him to be kin but I do have relatives that have married into the same families. I did not set out to find E.R. but he just kept crossing my path.

Coffey Cemetery People

The writer, Cloie Presley, with her husband Leister and Historical Society member Johnny Von Ruedgisch are shown at the Richardson gravesite.

For additional information on Elijah Richardson, see the 1993 edition of White County Heritage available from the White County Historical Society at P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.