--Photo by Leroy Blair, 2001

Kent Cemetery

Bald Knob, Arkansas

This is a single child’s grave that was listed for the first time after it was visited May 1, 2001, by Leroy Blair of the White County Historical Society. He said he was told about the grave by Jerry Cummins.

Following are Blair’s directions on how to find the site: "From Bald Knob take Highway 167 north about five miles to Russell Mountain Road, then turn right and go about two miles. Just past the intersection of Russell Mountain and Strawberry Road as you go down the hill, there are two very sharp curves. Between these curves on the right are signs (old out-buildings, several plum trees, etc.) that a house was once there. About 150 feet from Russell Mountain Road is a small rock building, probably an old well house. From this small rock building, looking southwest, you will see a large cedar tree. The grave is located on a direct line between the building and the cedar tree, about 20 feet from the tree."

Blair said he found "a small, nice stone" of a two-year-old boy, Arthur Elo Kent. He said he was told that this was a child of strawberry pickers who did not live permanently in the area. However, he was puzzled that the date of death – January 12 – is long before strawberry season begins.

The White County Record then published the following article by managing editor Gabe Gabrion on the front page of its June 6, 2002, edition:

"Between two curves on Russell Mountain Road and about 150 feet off the road is a long abandoned home site. Near a cedar tree at the site is a headstone that since being catalogued in 2001 by Leroy Blair of the White County Historical Society has brought forth more questions than answers. That is until local genealogist Gary Telford started looking into it.

"Blair had been told that the grave, that of a two-year-old boy named Arthur Elo Kent, had been placed there by strawberry pickers who did not live permanently in the area. However the date of death – January 12 – is long before strawberry season begins and therefore that story didn’t quite fit.

"Telford started looking into this mystery after noticing a request for information on the grave from the White County Historical Society. What he discovered was another grave marker for Arthur Elo Kent Jr. at the Maxville Cemetery in Sharp County, next to those of his parents Arthur Sr. and Margie L. Kent.

"The family were definitely not migrant strawberry pickers, as Telford has traced their heritage back as far as William C. Kent, who was born in 1823 in Morgan County, Alabama, and migrated to what was then Lawrence County, Arkansas, in 1859.

"His son, Francis "Frank" James Kent, was the father of Arthur Elo Kent Sr. and grandfather of Arthur Elo Kent Jr.

"According to records the Kent men were Methodists and Masons. It would also appear, from the records available, that Arthur Elo Kent Jr. is indeed buried at the site off Russell Mountain Road (referred to as Kent Cemetery) and that the marker at the family plot in the Maxville Cemetery in Sharp County is simply a memorial.

"Surviving members of the Kent clan, in particular Inez Kent Dickey, live in the Cave City area."

Leroy Blair was chairman of the Historical Society’s cemetery committee and a member of the board when he returned to this grave site a second time on February 18, 2005. He reported at that time, "The cemetery needs a good cleaning."

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

Kent, Arthur Elo Jr. – January 8, 1916 - January 12, 1918