--photos by Leroy Blair, 2002

White Oak Cemetery

Griffithville, Arkansas

"White Oak Graveyard," as it was called by Robert N. Boggan when he prepared a list of burials here in 1970, is located on the SE 1/4 of Section 12, Township 5 North, Range 6 West near the center of Section 12. Boggan, a former resident of White County, was director of the Arkansas Veterans Service Office when he prepared a listing June 27, 1970, for publication in the White County Historical Society’s White County Heritage annual history. To get to this cemetery, he wrote, "proceed from Griffithville on highway #11 east to John Holloway grocery store about eight miles. Go west from the store one half mile on gravel road to Roland Hodge residence. Turn north Ό mile through the west end of field to the dim road that leads to the cemetery about one hundred yards into the woods."

For his visit, Boggan "took with me my father Troy P. Boggan of RFD #1, Box 117, Griffithville, who was born January 22, 1893, of the same address, and his sister Mrs. Vesta Holiday of Griffithville. Both are of sound mind and memory. Mrs. Vesta Holiday was born in November 1887. The following is what I copied from markers on graves. The ones with asterisks were from memory."

Thirty years later, April 17, 2000, his list was updated by Gerald Torrence, a White County Historical Society member, who found 25 more old burials than Boggan listed. He noted five funeral home markers with no information on them. Torrence also found a lot of poison ivy – "the ground was covered with it."

Then on February 19, 2001, Leroy Blair of the Historical Society visited the site. There, "the man who owns the property where the cemetery is located, Mr. Nickie Whitthaer, took me to the cemetery on an ATV. We zigzagged so much crossing creeks and bayous, I will not try to describe how to get to the cemetery. He said there is a better way to get there when the ground is dry. I plan to go back that way and add to this report when I do. Mr. Whitthaer said that in the summer of 2000 some people came to the cemetery and cleaned it up some. They also placed a small sign saying ‘White Oak Cemetery.’ They also placed some new funeral home markers at some of the unmarked graves but there is no information on them."

Blair found the graves of George Hutchins and infant Allie Vandiver which were not on the old list.

There is some evidence on early maps that this was once known as Kirkland Cemetery. There are several Kirklands buried here, and the stone of Samuel D. Kirkland states that the Kirkland farm was nearby.

"At one time this was probably a very large cemetery," Blair reported. "If you walk around in the woods you can see signs of unmarked graves or an old funeral home marker with nothing on it. Mr. Whitthaer told me that at one time there was a church beside this cemetery. On our way back from the cemetery he took me to a place in a pine grove which he said is the location of the graves of an entire family that was burned to death in a house fire. He did not know the names or dates. I am pretty sure this pine grove is the location of an old graveyard. It is on a high mound in the pines. When the pines were set out, this small area was left as is, with oak and other hardwood trees. You can plainly see at least four depressions in the ground, all running the same direction. He said he was told the reason they were buried here was the area was flooded and White Oak Cemetery was not accessible."

If you have corrections or additions to this list or other information on White Oak Cemetery, please contact the White County Historical Society, P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.

The comments in quotation marks in the list of burials are from Robert Boggan’s report in 1970.

Bird, W.B. – May 11, 1860 – September 11, 1899 – "son-in-law of J.D. Tevis. W.B. Bird was reported to not be of the best character in the community"

Boggan, Clarence*, son of William P. Boggan – died January 17, 1916

Boggan, Mattie Alice (Claunch)*, wife of William Pet Boggan – (died) 189? in the month of May with T.B.

Boggan, Paul*, son of W.P., brother of Troy – "died with lung trouble in 1905. Had had pneumonia and measles. Size 190 pounds, 6-2. Very strong. Sick one week. Age at death 27."

Boggan, Silas Bruce*, brother of Troy P. and Paul Boggan and son of William Pet. Boggan – "born 1898 at Griffithville, died June 20, year unknown, at about the age of 36" … "Cedar tree by William Pet Boggan’s grave was trimmed by Phillip Long at the time of burial in 1903; stumps of limbs still there solid" [in 1970] … "Two infant graves joining William Pet Boggan on west side were grandsons. Dates of birth unknown – one Ralph Holiday and one son Billy Holiday, the children of Earl and Vesta Holiday"

Boggan, William P., 2nd Lt. Co. H. 2nd Miss. State Cavalry CSA – (died) 1903 at age 57 – "came from Lewisburg, Mississippi, in 1877 to West Point, Ark., then to what is now Griffithville."


Brantley, Mr.* – "One grave some fifty feet to the southwest and raised grave or mound… Mr. Brantley died February, 1902. The ground was frozen ice on timber but the ground was frozen ice" … [when it began to thaw and rain] "Andrew Boggan, William (Bill) Harris, Pat Wallace and Jes Petty and Will Adamson and Doug Garner tried to dig a grave but was unsuccessful because the grave run full of water. These men cut saplings or small hardwood trees and made a pen shaped like a pyramid around Mr. Brantley. They covered him with leaves, snow, sticks and debris and buried him on top of the ground. Some citizens in this community tried to prosecute these men for not burying him the proper depth. After weather warmed up, these same or most of these men piled dirt on him for a better burial. This story was told to me by Troy P. Boggan and Vesta Holiday. They also stated their father William Pet Boggan told or advised his son Andrew to make sure this grave got covering put on it."

Cain, David W. – August 9, 1893 – March 7, 1980 – military marker, Pvt. U.S. Army WWI - husband of Letha Cain.

Cain, Letha – August 18, 1904 – December 22, 1945 – "grew up at Jasmine"

Claunch, William*– (died) about 1885 – "brother to Mattie Alice Boggan, the wife of William P. Boggan"

Dollar, (plot) – stone broken off and missing

Dollar, Marrey R. – October 25, 1930 – February 3, 1931

Dollar, Louia D. – August 8, 1928 – February 29, 1938

Dorris, Annie – December 25, 1872 – February 28, 1875 (Annie and Johnny Dorris appear together on one small head marker)

Dorris, Johnny – March 31, 1866 – August 13, 1871

Edwards, Jerry* – unmarked – "died about 1901 at about middle age"

Griffin, Dr. Sam – "born about 1850 in Tennessee, died between 1923 and 1930. Practiced medicine in community. On the U.S. survey map this grave yard is referred to as Griffin grave yard."

Hews, Vinia – March 23, 1897 – April 6, 1959

Holiday, Billy – (see William Pet Boggan)

Holiday, Ralph – (see William Pet Boggan)

Huddleston, Jissi – Father – no other information

Huddleston – Wife – no other information

Huddleston, Ada May – died 1947 – infant daughter of Albert J. and Fern Holloway Huddleston

Huddleston, Ada Vickers – July 23, 1893 – March 28, 1928 – double stone with Virgil Turlin Huddleston – “Mother and Father of Albert Jennington, Louise Infant Baby, Pauline Elizabeth, Edward Miller, Irene Rena, Virgil Ophelia”

Huddleston, Virgil Turlin – 1878 – March 1926 – double stone with Ada Vickers Huddleston

Hutchins, Charles – February 20, 1901 – October 28, 1919 – all of the Hutchins are listed on the same stone

Hutchins, Florence – November 22, 1896 – August 5, 1898

Hutchins, George – November 9, 1865 – October 24, 1922

Hutchins, Lillie – October 18, 1894 – February 28, 1912

Hutchins, Mattie M. – November 9, 1876 – March 4, 1912

Hutchins, Samuel – December 25, 1911 – August 11, 1934

Hutchins, Silas – May 14, 1908 – May 30, 1908

Johnson, Lee T. – "born and raised at Sand Hill east of Des Arc" – October 30, 1902 – August 6, 1959

Johnson, Thomas, father of Lee T. Johnson – August 25, 1855 in Stockholm, Sweden – April 10, 1943

Kirkland, Lilly – no dates

Kirkland, Milton – no dates

Kirkland – Mother – no dates

Kirkland – Father – no dates

Kirkland, John – no dates

Kirkland, Samuel D. – "small markers in the fenced-in and joining Samuel D. Kirkland following names or words appear, on separate small markers: John, Milton, Father Kirkland, Mother Kirkland and two more with no markers but presumably they are Kirklands."

Kirkland, Samuel D. – January 8, 1890 – March 9, 1957 – "born in Tennessee but raised near this grave yard on his farm"

McLoud, Kate* – August 8, 1854 – February 25, 1918 – "Came from Lewisburg, Mississippi. Place of birth unknown, however most Boggans had migrated from Tennessee just prior to the Civil War. Mrs. McLoud’s maiden name was Boggan, a sister to William Pet Boggan. William Pet was the father of Troy Pet Boggan and Mrs. Vesta Holiday and other children. Robert Norfleet is the eldest son of Troy Pet Boggan and Lillie Mae (Story) Boggan."

McLoud, Terry S. – December 12, 1887 – December 13, 1887 – son of George and Julia Britian McLoud

Muray, Maggie – August 1, 1874 – August 14, 1940

St. Cloud, Perry son of George and Julie Brittian – born and died December 12, 1897. "Three unmarked graves by Perry"

Story, James and wife* – dates of birth and deaths unknown. "The Parents of Robert, William, Effie, Fanny and Sally. Fanny and Sally moved to Louisiana but whereabouts there … unknown. James Story and wife came from Montgomery, Alabama."

Tevis – Leroy Blair reported, "There are four graves covered with concrete and unreadable concrete markers all in a row next to Mary Tevis. Her grave is covered the same way. So the other four graves are probably Tevis family members."

Tevis, Infant son of J.D. and ME. Tevis – born and died November 13, 1877 – "two more children but can’t read marker but probably are Tevis children"

Tevis, Mary E., wife of J.D. Tevis – September 5, 1855 – November 11, 1898

Vandiver, Allie – May 15, 1907 – September 5, 1907

Vandiver, Alvin Herbert – July 11, 1915 – May 15, 1932 at age 16 years, 10 months and 4 days. "Alvin is a second cousin of mine. He and I were squirrel hunting and he accidentally shot the right side of his head off and died a few hours later. I was 14 years old. He was killed at the Cow Crossing on Crooked Creek. This was a jungle of a forest thick with game. He had purchased a new 20-gauge single-barrel shotgun. He gave about $6.35 new. I believe he purchased it from Sears and Roebuck Co."

Vandiver, Lewis A. – August 30, 1865 – May 22, 1940

Vandiver, Lorene – October 22, 1909 – January 19, 1919 – "Rosa, Alvin, Losie and Lorene were children of Thomas L. and Maggie Vandiver. Maggie was a daughter of Thomas and Rebecca Eans of the same community. Maggie and Thomas were not buried in this cemetery.

Vandiver, Losie Elmo – August 9, 1918 – October 1920

Vandiver, Mary F. (Dowdy) – October 5, 1856 – died about 1899 – wife of Phillip J. Vandiver

Vandiver, P.J., father of L.A. and Thomas Vandiver – October 5, 1846 – July 7, 1898 – "his nickname was Preacher; he came from Tennessee"

Vandiver, Rosa Ellen – September 3, 1904 – September 1905 - daughter of Thomas L. and Maggie

Vandiver – September 3, 1904 – September 1905

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