--photos by Gerald Torrence, 2001

Old Hopewell Cemetery

Rose Bud, Arkansas

This cemetery probably dates back as early as 1857, although 1877 is the earliest death date found on a tombstone here. Shirley Norman Gunn, who has devoted years of research to the Norman pioneers of this area, is convinced that Francis Marion Norman was buried here in 1857. She said she found the initials “F.M.N.” on one of the eight rock cairns in this graveyard. This cemetery is located at the site of the Old Hopewell Church and has not been used in years. It was listed in 1965 by Cloie and Leister Presley of the White County Historical Society, who reported “It covers a large area but is overgrown and few signs of graves. There are eight unmarked graves that are rocked. Mrs. Elwin Davis said two of those are her grandparents, Thomas and Harriet Duffle.”

When Leroy Blair of the White County Historical Society visited the cemetery January 9, 2001, he found it "in very poor condition … fallen trees have covered some of the trees and it is overgrown with brush and briars." However, it has subsequently been cleaned and a visitor in June 2004 proclaimed it to be "in the best shape it has been in for many years."

Blair said to reach the cemetery go east from Rose Bud on Highway 36 to Turner Road, just past Crockett’s Grocery [Crockett Brothers Grocery & Feed, 5542 Highway 36, Rose Bud]. Turn left on Turner Road; go about three-quarters of a mile to a gate on the left which is kept locked by Mr. Crockett at the store. After you get past the gate, go about one-half mile back into a pasture field. The cemetery is on the left in woods, just before an old house that is falling down. Mr. Crockett said he was told that this was the first Rose Bud post office."

Blair found about 50 graves that are marked only with rocks and saw approximately 50 more that "are just mounds or depressions in the ground." He also found the letters J.T.L. scratched on a rock that covers eight of the graves. He was unable to find three that were listed by the Presleys: B.J.H., Harriet Duffle and Thomas Duffle.

Gerald Torrence, another member of the White County Historical Society, visited the cemetery later in January 2001 to take photographs. While there, he found an unrecorded grave for a child, Cecil Wortham, under a fallen tree. The Wortham child, who died in 1909, might be the last recorded burial in the cemetery.

Torrence stopped at the Crocketts’ store and was told their great grandfather Crockett had purchased land in the area for 12 ½ cents per acre.

Blair’s report stated, "Mr. Crockett went to the cemetery with me. Without his help I probably never would have found it. He said during the summer months several people visit the cemetery."

If you have corrections to this list or additional information on Old Hopewell Cemetery, contact the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.

B., J.H. – carved on a rocked grave – no dates

Cooper, Rachel – March 4, 1832 – January 8, 1883 – wife of E.M. Cooper – tree has fallen on grave

Davis, Mary A. – May 15, 1880 – age 70 years, 21 days

Davis, R.W. – January 7, 1831 – August 10, 1900 – fence and concrete posts

Duffle, Harriet – wife of Thomas Duffle

Duffle, Thomas – husband of Harriet Duffle

Moss, D.L. – January 16, 1865 – September 23, 1889

Moss, William W. – September 12, 1815 – December 19, 1877 – husband of Mary Moss

Outland, William – June 16, 1826 – September 24, 1882.

Singleton, S.E. – May 7, 1854 – October 14, 1880

Wortham, Cecil – 1904 –1909 – tree has fallen on grave

Near the west edge the Presleys found three rocks in a line – carved – C.M., L.M., T.M. – and speculated they could be members of the Moss family.