This cemetery was organized in 1909 as Judsonia Colored Cemetery, controlled
by the Judsonia Colored Burying Association. It has been closely connected to
the Antioch Baptist Church, which was established in 1864. When it was listed in
the spring of 1992 by Paul Miller of Judsonia, a former president of the White
County Historical Society, he said many black residents of the area still called
it "Colored Cemetery." Additional information was provided by Raymond Johnson,
then age 80, who mowed and cared for the cemetery at that time. Their report was
published by the Society in its annual history, White County Heritage,
later that year. A report on the cemetery was prepared December 18, 2004, by
Historical Society board member Leroy Blair. He had first visited the site in
2000 and found it in very poor condition. "However on my visit in 2004, I found
that it has been cleaned up since my last visit," he reported. "The people who
did the cleaning did a real nice job. Now many of the graves have flowers on
them and some of the unmarked graves also have flowers. There may be several
hundred graves without markings just depressions in the ground."
"The road to the cemetery," Miller wrote in 1992, "is just a field road and no signs or directions, even an indication there is a cemetery there. Turn to Judsonia at the traffic light at Hopkins corner, Highway 367, and go .8 mile. Watch closely for a gate on the right. The cemetery is some distance toward the river."
Miller found the following in White County Deeds, Book 85, page 174: "T.H. Beals to Judsonia Colored Cemetery filed March 29, 1909. $50.00 paid by Henry Word, President, R.R. Pool, Secretary, John Roach, Treasurer of the Judsonia Colored Burying Association. Beginning 32 rods west of the NE corner of the SE Ό of NW Ό of Section 4, Township 7 North, Range 6 West, go 20 rods South, West 8 rods, North 20 rods and East 8 rods; also, a right of way 8 feet wide from beginning point to land, one acre to be used for colored burying ground and for nothing else. Signed: T.H. Beals, Annie Beals, March 30, 1904."
Raymond Johnson was a veteran of World War II and a retired Missouri Pacific Railroad trackman. He lived in Judsonia with his wife Mary Trotter Johnson. His parents, Willie and Amanda Johnson, were life-long residents of Judsonia. His grandmother, Teena, was born in slavery on the Johnson Plantation near Selma, Alabama. She took the name Johnson after freedom, and moved to Arkansas.
When Blair first visited the cemetery October 7, 2000, he found three unlisted graves. Following is his 2000 report: "To get to this cemetery from Judsonia take Highway 385 toward Hopkins Corner. You will cross a small bridge. Turn at the second gate on the left past the bridge. The gate had some small flags on it. Go through the gate back to the woodline. The cemetery is on the left. It is badly overgrown. Mr. Gene Donnell, who owns the property, said that a few years ago someone bush-hogged the cemetery and it was so badly overgrown that they could not see the stones. So most of the ones on the list from Paul Miller in 1992 are broken or gone." The unlisted graves he found were Chester Freeman, Mamie Freeman and James Alexander. He found 14 other stones and "many unmarked graves." If the cemetery is locked, it may be opened by contacting Mr. Donnell at 501 729-3838.
Blair was chairman of the Historical Societys cemetery committee and a member of the board when he visited the cemetery again on January 5, 2005, and made a few changes to the list.
The Antioch Baptist Church building, located off Van Buren Street in downtown Judsonia, is not in use at this time, but has been maintained by former members.
If you have corrections or additions to this list or other information on the Judsonia Colored Cemetery, contact the White County Historical Society at P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.
Alexander, James H. January 21, 1908 September, 2, 19?? stone broken
Bailey, Cornelius May 8, 1891 April 10, 1965 Arkansas Private Co. C 14 Repl. Bn. WWI
Bailey, Elizabeth April 7, 1924 February 4, 1972
Bailey, wife of Cornelius Bailey this grave could not be found during the December 2004 survey
Barker, Anna died March 22, 1913 only date Faithful Member of Silver Ring Circle No. 202 stone lying on ground
Bowman, Lucy January 1, 1865 July 28, 1911
Brewer, J.N.F. Jr. May 31, 1897 January 10, 1931 this is one of six names that are on the same stone
Brewer, J.N.F. Sr. January 14, 1868 January 21, 1957 - J.N.F. Brewer Sr. was a blind teacher and preacher - this is one of six names that are on the same stone
Brewer, Michial September 9, 1910 March 1, 1911 this is one of six names that are on the same stone
Brewer, Rachel February 14, 1908 July 30, 1927 this is one of six names that are on the same stone
Brewer, Sarah died June 5, 1916 only date this is one of six names that are on the same stone
Brown, Hattie B. died April 22, 1922 only date - during the December 2004 survey the stone was found off its base and part of it was buried in the ground
Canady, Cinda died August 9, 1916 only date age 58 years
Davis, Elizabeth 1918 1970
Freeman, Chester 1873 1949 on double stone with Mamie Freeman
Freeman, Mamie 1880 1948 on double stone with Chester Freeman
Hampton, Mary October 16, 1882 February 23, 1926 wife of John Hampton
Henderson, John Belton April 14, 1901 May 24, 1964
Johnson, Amanda 1891 1943
Johnson, Willie 1884 1935
Moore, Willie Frank November 9, 1899 August 5, 1917 son of Ed and Sarah Moore
Poole, Mollie L. died January 8, 1924 Headlight Tabernacle No. 181, Newport, Ark.
Readus, Ida December 2, 1874 June 17, 1949 this is one of six names that are on the same stone
Riley, Bessie Jones September 23, 1886 July 18, 1975 - on double stone with Will Frank Riley
Riley, Will Frank December 9, 1884 September 20, 1948 - on double stone with Bessie Jones Riley
Roberts, Rosetta March 10, 1886 January 1966 - International Order of Twelve Knights and Daughters of Tabor stone is broken
Rogers, Luke dates unknown - this was the first burial in the cemetery it is in the northeast corner of the cemetery, but there is no marker
Trotter, Osby Z. August 12, 1912 November 7, 1983 U.S. Army WWII
Young, Arthur Sr. April 10, 1907 January 1,1982 Pvt. U.S. Army WWII
The following names are of known burials in this cemetery without markers.
Bailey, Harry, son of Cora Bailey
Bailey, no first name Mrs. Pap Bailey.
Blankenship, no first name Mrs. Dave Blankenship.
Bowman, Bobby Joe
Bowman, no first name daughter of Mona Bowman.
Brewer, no first name mother of Rev. John Brewer.
Brewer, no first name Mrs. Green Brewer.
Canada, husband of Cindy Canada.
Canada, no first name Mrs. George Canada.
Foster, no first name Mrs. Usleysee Foster.
Green, no first name Mrs. Alex.
Hampton, no first name daughter of John
Johnson, Lola Barkle wife of John Johnson.
Johnson, no first name mother of Dock Johnson
Johnson, Mrs. Willie
Johnson, Teena born a slave on the Johnson Plantation in Alabama.
Johnson, Willie "Shortie"
Jones, Mrs. Henry
Moore, no first name daughter of Judia Moore
Moore, Fair - daughter of Katie Moore
Pools, Mr. - no first name.
Pools, Mrs. - no first name.
Pools, three or four children
Skillum, Willie son of Walt Skillum
Young, no first name daughter of Fannie Young
Young, no first name daughter of Fannie Young
(From "Thats Judsonia," White County Printing Company, 1957)Judsonias Negro residents are scattered over the greater part of "Depot Town." The situation is typical of the South, for here is a city within a city, divided by color, yet united in a love of its civic homeland. That there is no serious race problem is to the credit of both white and black citizens of several generations.
The colonization of Judsonias eastern border by the Negroes came with the end of the plantation system after the Civil War. By the time that the ex-slaves had adjusted themselves to the new order, both the Prospect Bluff and Judson Addition sections of town were filled with white landowners. The most promising home sites lay to the east, and it was there that the colored population gathered. Just as in any other community, the Negroes have their "old families," whose ancestors were here in the early days of the town. The names of Bowman, Freeman, Critz, Hampton, Wright, Brewer, Bailey and others have been associated with the colored section for many years.
Among the acknowledged leaders of the Negro section was J.N.F. Brewer, who passed away in 1956. He had lived here more than half a century of his long life. As pastor of the colored Baptist congregation, Rev. Brewer supervised the construction of his church building and taught for many terms in the Negro school.
One of the most interesting of Judsonias colored citizens passed away in January 1940. He was Uncle Bedford Sangster Richardson, who died at the age of 112. Uncle Bedford had little but his remarkable memory to verify his many years until Miss Virginia Lightle of Searcy, through contact with the relatives of his former master in Tennessee, was able to establish his age in 1936. His memories extended back beyond the Civil War to the plantation days of the old South and his colorful word-pictures of the period brought many people to his door.
(The writer was president of the White County Historical Society in 1962-63.)