--Photo by Leroy Blair, 2003

Many people are buried here.

But only three headstones remain.

Punkin Town Cemetery

Dewey, Arkansas

This cemetery is located at the intersection of Highways 124 and 305 east of Pangburn and north of Dewey.  

The White County Historical Society’s original record on Punkin Town Cemetery was created in 1962 when Society members Cloie and Leister Presley visited the site.  Here's how they described it:

“A very poor road leads off east through the fields.  Soon there is a branch and just after crossing it there is an old road turning to the right.  This leads up a hill and to an old house place.  The house has burned but there are some buildings still standing.  Just after passing the house, almost across from it, the cemetery is on the left side of the road.  It is overgrown and no evidence of care for a long while.  There were only three tombstones [William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin and Taylor McCauley].  Four graves were covered with rocks, 15 graves showing plainly and two possibilities.  There are possibly more if the place was cleaned.”  After the Presley’s report was published, she noted. The Sutherlins were the grandparents of Oran Vaughan of Searcy [a charter member of the White County Historical Society].   He had the cemetery cleaned after this listing.”   The origin of the name “Punkin Town” is not known.

Punkin Town Cemetery was visited August 26, 2000, by Historical Society member Leroy Blair, who lived at nearby Clay.  He filed the following report:  “Go straight across 305 onto a dirt road; go down this road about one-quarter mile.  There is now a large home on the left.” 

 Jane Hefley of Little Rock, a member of the White County Historical Society, provided some information in June 2001.   She said William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin were the grandparents of her father, Leonard Sutherlin.  She said her aunt, Irene Sutherlin Emde of Los Gatos, California, who was born in 1909, told her there were “maybe 100” graves here.

 In April 2002, Irene Emde gave Eddie Best of the White County Historical Society the following list of people that she said are buried at Punkin Town Cemetery.   She cited for verification a book Arthur Edwards and His Descendents  by Anthony J. Christensen copyrighted 1991 and published by Mac Anthony Corporation, P.O. Box 768, Spanish Fork, Utah 84660.  She also provided pedigree charts of the families involved.  Burials on her list occurred as early as 1844, making Punkin Town one of the oldest recorded cemeteries in White County.  Mrs. Emde told Best that across the road from the Punkin Town Cemetery (“where a new barn has been built”) is a cemetery containing the graves of at least four former slaves.  She said she remembered seeing at least one grave in 1978 and thinks that the graves “are the freed Negroes who worked for the family.”   Mrs. Emde said she thought many of the 11 children of Margaret (Edwards) and Rainey Parsons Brown could be buried here.  Their daughter Nancy Brown married Elijah Bailey.  He, his brother Abner and other Bailey family members are buried here.

The Historical Society received this report from Val English in July 2005:  “I visited Punkin Town Cemetery on July 3 and thought you might like an update. I live in California but I was visiting Pangburn for a family reunion of the descendants of P.C. and Icy Wood, my grandparents. I knew that we had ancestors buried in Punkin Town Cemetery, but I had not been there for about 25 years, at which time the owner of the property was not related to my family. William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin, whose headstones are still there, were my great-great-grandparents.  I went to the door of the house next to the cemetery to ask if I could go inside the gate to look around, only to discover my cousin answering the door! My uncle now owns the property and the family farms there. When they purchased the property there were, indeed, only three headstones remaining. They have fixed up the gravesites as best they could. They are neatly marked, and the broken headstones have been somewhat repaired by being put together, laid flat, in a bed of cement. I have attached pictures I took while there. My cousin thought there were a large number of slaves buried across the road, but there were no markers. This is still private property and the driveway is often gated, but they might not mind visitors if someone is home and you ask permission.”

If you have corrections or additional information on this cemetery or the people who are buried here, contact the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.

Bailey, Abner – born 1805 – no death date – husband of Minerva – brother of Elijah Bailey
Bailey, Crawford – born 1849 – no death date – son of Minerva and Abner
Bailey, Elijah – died February 1, 1846 – husband of Nancy Brown – see “Early Arkansas Settler,” 1963 White County Heritage, II-p. 7
Bailey, John F. – 1833 – November 18, 1858 – son of Nancy Brown and Elijah Bailey – husband of Henrietta Walker Bailey, married July 6, 1856
Bailey, Minerva (Peeler) – born 1820 – no death date – wife of Abner
Bailey – daughter of Elizabeth “Betsy” (Edwards) and Hiram Peeler
Bailey, Nancy (Brown) – 1813? in Tennessee – no death date – daughter of Margaret Edwards and Rainey Parsons Brown – wife of Elijah Bailey
Kelly, Henry – born 1828 in Tennessee – no death date – husband of Margaret E. – son of L. and Turza Kelly
Kelly, infant son – died June 1854 – child of Henry and Margaret E. (Bailey) Kelly
Kelly, Margaret E. (Bailey)  –1835 – 1853 – daughter of Nancy Brown and Elijah Bailey – wife of Henry Kelly
Magness, William – 1780 to 1790 – December 7, 1844 – Captain Pulaski County 2d Regiment, Arkansas militia - husband of Susannah Edwards – son of Patsy and Jonathan Magness
McCauley, James Taylor – December 10, 1858 in Mississippi – January 16, 1887 – husband of Ida K. Sutherlin, married January 4, 1883 – son-in-law of William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin
McCauley, Laura – no dates – child of James Taylor and Ida K. Sutherlin McCauley – buried beside James Taylor McCauley
Sutherlin, Alice – 1859? – died young – daughter of William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin
Sutherlin, Elizabeth Jane “Betty” (Bailey)  –May 1, 1838 – November 2, 1887 at Little Red – wife of William Sutherlin – daughter of Elijah Bailey and Nancy Brown – this stone is broken
Sutherlin, Laura – 1862? – died young – daughter of William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin
Sutherlin, Mary E. – November 22, 1855 – 1860 – daughter of William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin
Sutherlin, Nancy – 1857? – died young – daughter of William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin
Sutherlin, William – May 23, 1827 in Rutherford Co., TN – November 12, 1875 – farmer at Little Red – Sgt. 8th Regiment Arkansas Volunteers, C.S.A. (July 12, 1861 – January 6, 1862) – son of Mary Turley (Edwards) and Clayton Sutherlin, her second husband
Sutherlin, William H. – December 8, 1867 – 1870 – twin of Fannie E. – son of William and Elizabeth Jane Sutherlin