--Photo by Leroy Blair, 2000

Dawn Cemetery

Searcy, Arkansas

This cemetery is located in the area known as Mossy Point, and may have been called Mossy Point Cemetery at one time.   When modern-day owners discovered it on their land, they named it Dawn Cemetery, in memory of a granddaughter who died in 1977. 

Zella Holden of Searcy, noticing that the White County Historical Society in 1999 was placing cemetery records on the Internet, contacted Society president Eddie Best with the first report of a “Dawn Cemetery.”  She stated that she and her husband bought a 130-acre farm from the Tom Killough family in the 1960s and discovered there was an old cemetery on the land.   Mrs. Holden said she had never heard of any name for the cemetery, so her family began calling it Dawn Cemetery in memory of her granddaughter, Dawn Bales, who died of cancer at age 2.  A monument in her name was placed in this old cemetery.   Shelly Dawn Bales was born May 27, 1975, the daughter of Rebecca and Mark Bales.  Despite surgery and treatment she lived only four months after her cancer was diagnosed; she died April 5, 1977.

It was learned that the cemetery is the final resting place of descendents of John W. Ross, who came to Arkansas before the Civil War.   John W. may also be buried here.  Mrs. Holden said she was told that a man named Lee Ross, his wife and some of their children were buried in the cemetery and that descendents placed a stone at the site many years after Lee Ross died in 1923.  The Ross information was confirmed in 1999 by Joyce King Gay of the White County Historical Society, who stated that Lee Ross was the great grandfather of her husband James Austin Gay.  In March 2002, the Society received additional information on the Ross family from Linda McCall Rodgers of Romance.  Her research showed that Lee Ross and his first wife Rebecca Holland Ross were parents of 18 children, including three sets of twins.   She also reported that four years after Rebecca in 1909, Lee married Mrs. Eva Arnold.  [See Linda McCall Rodgers’ writeup, “History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point.”]

Dawn Cemetery is located on Holden Drive, which is off to the east at the end of West Country Club where it goes south.   Mrs. Holden said of the cemetery, “We do not know all the people in it as many graves are just marked with rocks.”

The cemetery was visited November 1, 2000, by Leroy Blair of the White County Historical Society.  He provided the following list.  He reported finding six other graves that were marked with rocks but no identification and five depressions that he thought were probably graves.  He noted that the cemetery is very clean and has a gazebo.  Following are his directions:  “To get to this cemetery, take Highway 36 west to Honey Hill Road.  Turn left on Honey Hill Road and continue to Country Club, then turn right.  Go about 2 1/8 miles to Holden Drive, a small dirt road on the left.  The cemetery is at the end of Holden on the left."

If you have additional information on this cemetery, contact the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.

Bales, Shelly Dawn – May 27, 1975 – April 5, 1977

Oswald, Deloy Weldon – September 10, 1927 in Osgood, Idaho – May 25, 2004 

Pruitt, Polly Ann (Bond) – no dates – wife of Jeremiah Pruitt – unmarked grave, per Linda McColl Rodgers research [see “History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point”]

Reed, Charles Spurgeon (Goodnight, Texas) – September 14, 1906 – April 23, 1982

Reed, Zella Mildred (Wood) – July 7, 1915, in Knott, TX – August 16, 2006 - wife of C.S. Reed

Ross, Frances R. “Fannie” (Pruitt) – 1859 – 1897 – first wife of John Henry Ross – unmarked grave, per Linda McColl Rodgers research [see “History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point”]

Ross, Hannah Caroline (Lane) – May 2, 1825 in Monroe Co., TN – May 4, 1897 in Searcy – wife of John W. Ross – daughter of Curtis and Hannah Lane – unmarked grave, per Linda McColl Rodgers research [see “History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point”]

Ross, John W. – 1824 in NC – January 2, 1911 in Faulkner Co., AR – son of Martin Van Buren Ross and Mary Ross – husband of Hannah Caroline Lane Ross, married September 7, 1845 – unmarked grave, per Linda McColl Rodgers research [see “History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point”]

Ross, Leander Fountain “Lee” – January 11, 1845 in Bradley Co., TN – April 28, 1923 – on double stone with wife Rebecca Ross

Ross, Littie – December 24, 1889 – only date, died as an infant – twin of Lillie Ross – daughter of Lee and Rebecca Ross – unmarked grave, per Linda McColl Rodgers research [see “History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point”]

Ross, Rebecca P. “Becky” (Holland) – February 10, 1848 – 1909 – on double stone with Lee Ross – daughter of Frances C. Hudson and Jesse Green Holland of Dickson Co., TN – first wife of Lee Ross

Ross, unnamed – no dates – children of Lee and Rebecca Ross – several unmarked graves, per Linda McColl Rodgers research [see “History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point”]

Smith, Ronald Gean – May 31, 1935 – June 8, 1985


History of the Ross Family of Mossy Point




I believe that at one time either Dawn Cemetery or the general area was called Mossy Point. That is how my Dad and also Milton McEuen referred to it when they took me to visit the cemetery on September 23, 1980.  I remember the date because it was my son's 5th birthday. 

Lee Ross was the son of John W. Ross, who was the son of  Martin Van Buren Ross and his wife Mary  (last name unknown).  John W. was born about 1824 in North Carolina and died January 2, 1911 in Faulkner County in the home of his daughter Sarah J. "Sadie" Ross Petty, the wife of George T. Petty. We have never been able to find a grave for John W. Ross in Faulkner County and feel that he is possibly buried in Dawn Cemetery.  The Pettys are buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery, Faulkner County, Arkansas.  Lee Ross' mother was Hannah Caroline Lane, who was born May 2, 1825, in Monroe County, TN and died May 4, 1897, in Searcy, AR.   Hannah Caroline Lane married  John W. Ross  on  September 7, 1845.   Hannah Caroline Lane was the daughter of Curtis Lane and his wife, Hannah. Possibly Hannah's last name was Murry.

John W. Ross and his wife Caroline had a son, John Henry Ross, born April 17, 1859, near Dalton, Whitfield County, Georgia. That same month the Ross   family traveled with ox-team and wagon from their home near Dalton to what then was Independence County, Arkansas, and is now known as Wolf Bayou.

They traveled with the baby, John Henry, and their other children: Lee, Myra James, Harriett, William, Mary and Martha.  Later in Arkansas four other children were born: Kate, Sadie, Detrick and Columbus.

John W. was a pioneer of that section of Arkansas.   He purchased wooded land and cleared most of it, using his oxen to haul away timber and break the sod.   He did most of his trading at Batesville.  As the years passed, he gave individual attention to the further development of the land.

At the time of the Civil War John W. Ross served during the last two years of the hostilities, with the Confederate Army being on duty mostly West of the Mississippi River.  After the War, he constructed a grist mill about 20 miles from Batesville and operated this with horse power.   Patrons came to him from several miles away.  Later he built a mill on Big Creek, which he operated with machinery he made mostly by hand.  He operated his gristmill with horse power. On one occasion, he ran the mill both day and night for three weeks without stopping. He carried on general farming and stock raising.  Thus, he led a busy and useful life.

In 1878,  John W. moved to White County, Arkansas , purchasing land, later selling it and settling in Beebe. In 1889, he became a resident of Searcy.  His last days were spent in Faulkner County. He lived there with his daughter, Sadie, Mrs. George Petty.  He departed this life on January 1, 1911, at the age of 87 years.  He had long survived his wife, who had died in 1894 at the age of 65 years.  They were both members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in which Mr. Ross was a local minister. He also belonged to the mason fraternity and gave his political allegiance to the Democratic Party.

Children of John W. Ross and Hannah Caroline Lane are:

1 . Leander Fountain "Lee" Ross, born January 11, 1845 in Bradley County,  TN and died April 28, 1923, at Searcy, Arkansas.  Lee was married to Rebecca P. "Becky" Holland, daughter of Jesse Green Holland and Frances C. Hudson who came from Dickson County, TN.   Rebecca Holland was born February 10, 1848, and  died in 1909.   Lee married his second wife, Mrs. Eva Arnold, on August 26, 1913.   Lee and Eva Arnold had no children.   Lee Ross and Rebecca Holland are buried in Dawn Cemetery, White County, AR.

2 . Myra (Mirah) Ross was born in 1847 in TN, and married Joseph R. Hastings, a marshal at one time at Beebe, Arkansas.   He was murdered and is probably the J.R. Hastings buried in the Beebe Cemetery.   He had only one arm as a result of a sawmill accident.

3.  James "Jim" Ross was born in 1849 in TN, and married Hulda (last name unknown).

4.  Harriett Ross was born 1851 in TN, and married John Nick Cannon.  The Cannons moved to Hunt County, Texas.

5.  William Ross was born in 1853 in TN and married Narcissa Cannon.

6.  Mary F. Ross was born in 1855 in TN, and married James V. Lowery.  The Lowerys lived in Lonoke County, Arkansas.

7.  Martha M. Ross was born in 1857 in TN and married John W. Holland

8.  John Henry Ross was born April 17, 1959, near Dalton, Whitfield County GA, and died November 15, 1938 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is buried there. He was married first on April 19, 1880, at Searcy, Arkansas, to Frances R. "Fannie" Pruitt, who was born in 1859 in Arkansas and died in 1897 in White County, Arkansas.  John Henry Ross then married Angeline Wortham, who was born December 16, 1867, and died January 12, 1925.   Angeline Wortham Ross is buried in Oak Grove Cemetery, White County, Arkansas. John Henry Ross and Fannie Pruitt were the parents of six children.  He and Angeline Wortham had no children.

9.   Sarah  J. "Sadie" Ross was born February 18, 1861, in Arkansas, and died April 16, 1911.  She married George T. Petty, who was born January 9, 1856, and died January 22, 1920.  Both of the Pettys are buried in Mt. Olive  Cemetery in Faulkner County, Arkansas.

10. Detrick M. Ross was born in 1864 in Arkansas. He married Henrietta Rose, born 1866 and died 1938.   She is buried at Antioch Cemetery, White County, Arkansas.

11. Susan Kate Ross was born 1866 in Arkansas and married John Martin, a Presbyterian minister, after a three-day courtship.  They lived in the Austin, Arkansas, area.

12. Columbus Dee Ross was born May 1868 in Arkansas and was married first to Mary Lou Cranford on January 13, 1887, in White County, Arkansas, and second to Lula Cora "Sidney" Exum Cranford on April 7, 1919, in White County, Arkansas.   Sidney Cranford Ross was born February 21, 1885, and died November 10, 1973, and is buried at Weir Cemetery.  Columbus Ross is buried at Antioch Cemetery, White County, Arkansas .



Lee Ross and Rebecca Holland were parents of a total of 18 children, including three sets of twins.  Several of these children died as infants or young children.  Names for only 9 of these 18 children are known.  Only 6  children lived to grow up and have families.

Children of Leander Fountain "Lee"  Ross and Rebecca P. "Becky"  Holland were:

1.  Julia Melinda Angeline Rebecca Ross was born December 26, 1866 at Batesville, Independence County, Arkansas, and died April 12, 1846, in White County, AR.  She was married on March 12, 1882, to John Robert Pruitt, who was born August 7, 1860, and died May 8, 1934.  John Robert was the son and youngest child of Jeremiah Pruitt and Polly Ann Bond, who moved to White County in the late 1850s from Georgia.  They are both buried at Antioch Cemetery, White County, AR.  They were the parents of 13 children.

2. Charles William  "Charlie" Ross was born November 28, 1869, and died April 5, 1947.  He married Laura Upshaw Epps.  She was born January 6, 1877, and died February 24, 1964.  They are buried in Smyrna Cemetery, White County, AR.

3. Narcissa Ross was born in 1871 in Arkansas and died in 1932.  She was married in 1880 to Archibald  "Arch" McEuen, who was born in 1884 and died in 1937. They are buried in Mt. Olive Cemetery, White County, AR. They were the parents of 18 children.

4. Andrew Jackson "Jackie'" Ross was born in 1875 in Arkansas and never married.

5.John M. Ross was born in August 1879 in Arkansas.

6. Elishos Lockard Ross was born in February 1882 in Arkansas and  died in  Hollywood, California.  He was married first to Zoda H. Scott in 1903 and  second to Phoebe Wages.

7. Lille Ross was born on December 24, 1889, in Arkansas and died on September 20, 1925.  She married Frank Floyd in 1906.   Frank Floyd was born December 23, 1884, and died May 16, 1938.  His nickname was " Pel" Floyd.  The Floyds are buried in Gum Springs Cemetery, White County, Arkansas.

8. Littie Ross was born on December 24, 1889, in Arkansas. She was Lillie's twin and died as an infant.

9. Florence Binnie Ross (she was called Binnie by  family members ) was born September 16, 1891 White County, AR. died October 28, 1962 and  married Thomas Milam  Gay in 1907. Thomas Gay was born March 5, 1881 and died October 28, 1962. They both  are buried in Center Hill Baptist Cemetery, Center Hill, White County, Arkansas.

We feel, but have no proof that possibly,  Polly Ann Bond is  burried in the Dawn Cemetery. Jeremiah Pruitt died during the Civil War and is buried in Columbus MS. Jeremiah and Polly Ann originally bought land in this area of  Dawn Cemetery. John Robert Pruitt and Frances R. Pruitt, wife of John Henry Ross, were both children of Jeremiah Pruitt and Polly Ann Bond.  It is very likely that Frances R. Pruitt Ross, 1st wife of John Henry Ross is  buried at Dawn Cemetery.  We also feel that most likely John W. Ross and Hannah Caroline Ross are buried at Dawn Cemetery.  Very likely Littie Ross, daughter of Lee and Rebecca and the other children of Lee and Rebecca  Ross whose names are unknown, but died young are also buried at Dawn Cemetery.


Sources for some of my information include:

Cemetery Records

Census Records

Family Information: Much of the information was supplied by Lee Ross' grandaughter,  a daughter of Julia Ross and John Robert Pruitt, Florence Pruitt McCall (born  December 28, 1889 and died December 20, 1985).

Census of Arkansas Confederate Veterans of 1911

Hannah Caroline Lane Ross' Obituary

Correspondence with descendants of  six of the children of John W. Ross and Caroline Lane.

Information exchange with three descendants of Lee Ross.


This is the information from the Census of  Arkansas Confederate Veterans of 1911:

Ross, Lee of Searcy, Ark. was born Jan 11, 1845 at Cleveland, Bradley Co. Tenn. the son of John W. Ross of NC, who was the son of Martin Van Buren Ross of NC. Maiden name of subject's mother  was Carline Lane, dau. of Curtis Lane, who lived in Cleveland, Bradley Co., Tenn. He states his mother and father came from Scotland. He was educated in a private school at Whitfield, GA., was a farmer, Democrat and M.E. South. Was Second Sgt. Co.I, Smith Regt., Shelby Brigade, enlisted in Jan. 1863, captured  and paroled in July 1864.  Married Rebecca Holland, dau. of Green and Francis Hudson Holland at Wolf Bayou, Van Buren, Ark.


Certified by Dave M. Hallemon, Assessor of White Co., Ark., Jan. 15 1912.

The information from the Veterans Census is exactly as it was given. All research indicates that there was a generation or more before Lee Ross' family connected to those who came from Scotland to America.

Obituary of Mrs. John W. Ross, written by: Henry T. Gregory, Arkansas Methodist, Oct 20, 1897  (page 15 Column 1-2).

Hannah C. Ross, (whose maiden name was Lane) was born in Monroe County, Tennessee, May 2, 1825. Professed religion in 1840, and joined the Methodist Church.  Was married to Rev. J.W. Ross, Sept. 7, 1845. Moved to Arkansas in 1859. Departed this life in Searcy, White County, May 4 1897, being 72 years and 2 days old at the time of her death.  She died suddenly: went to bed in usual health, but died some time during the night.  It was a terrible shock to her husband and children. She was a true and devoted Christian, a kind wife and a loving mother. I have known the family over 30 years. Their house was always the home of the preacher. Many preachers who read these lines will remember to have been fed, warmed and comforted at that home. She loved her church and was always there when it was so she could be. Owing to failing eyesight  for several years she could not attend Church regularly, but lived in sweet communion with her God. Brother Ross, while he misses his loved companion, bows in humble submission to the will of God. He seems to be waiting for the Lord to say, "It is enough, come up higher. "To the husband and children I would say, be faithful "even unto death," then you will meet to part no more.

The 1850 Census of Bradley County, TN for Martin Ross age 50, Mary 50, Emeline 16, Thomas 14, William 12,  Mary 10,  Nancy 9, NC NC, Br-1020-422

The 1850 Census of  Bradley County, TN for Curtis Lane and his family. He is listed as age 40 with Hanner 38, James 21, Matilda 18, Lucinda 16, Thomas 14, John, 11, Joseph 9, Nancy 7, Gideon 4, Franklin 2, Wilburn 4/12, NC T, Br-978-416.

The Bradley County, TN 1850 Census for John W. Ross:  John  W. Ross, Caroline H. 25, , Fountain L. 5, Mirah M 3, James 1, T T, Br-218-307.

The 1880 Census for White County Arkansas, Gray Township: Lee Ross born 1845 TN,  Rebecca born 1848 TN,  Julia born 1866 AR, Charles born 1869 AR, Narcissa born 1872 AR, A. Jackson born 1875 AR, John born 1879 AR.