Leroy Blair with a Tombstone




After nine years of intensive research on the cemeteries of White County, we have learned that there are thousands of unmarked graves here.  In some graveyards, the faint rectangular indentions of unmarked graves far exceed the number of tombstones.  Archeologist Scott Akridge was amazed when he visited the site of historic Royal Colony graveyard ("Stamps Cemetery" as it is known today) near El Paso in 2004.  "As many as 200 graves are located here," he said, although only six headstones exist.  Most of the 180 cemeteries in the county have numerous graves that are unmarked or marked only with unscribed field stones.  Many military veterans lie in these spaces.  If you have a loved one in an unmarked grave, there's important news for you.  First of all, you should know that Uncle Sam will provide a free tombstone for any qualified veteran.  It takes a little paperwork and time but the results are wonderful.  Secondly, Leroy Blair has found an inexpensive way to permanently mark a gravesite.  The White County Historical Society cemetery research director is encouraging the purchase of a small gray granite stone that can be personally engraved with name, birth date and death date.  It's heavy enough to last but light enough to be picked up and placed in a cemetery by yourself.  The smallest size, which Leroy is holding in the photograph above, is 4x8 inches.  It costs $30 plus tax of $1.60.  An 8x16 stone is available for $75 plus tax.  Blair is providing the stones as a service; there is no profit for him or the Society in the project.  He prefers that you pick up and place the stone yourself but will place it in a White County cemetery for you if you'll pay for his gasoline.  He will also help you through the red tape necessary to obtain a free military stone from Uncle Sam.  To qualify, the veteran cannot already have a headstone.  For additional details or assistance, contact Leroy at 501 207-2057, PO Box 537 Searcy, AR 72145 or wchistory@swbell.net