Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bethlehem Cemetery - First Public Cemetery In Washington County Arkansas

Bethlehem Cemetery in Canehill, AR.
 This Is The Site Of
The First Church Established
In Washington County Arkansas
Bethlehem
Methodist-Episcopal
Church South
Established April 17th, 1827

You can read more about the church at The Arkansas Family Historian scroll down to pg 15.

The original church building was a log structure and was replaced in 1876 with a frame structure. In 1910 that building was moved to the nearby town of Morrow where it remained until it was torn down in 1953. It is not surprising the amount of burials fell off sharply after the church moved in 1910. Out of eighty-seven total burials only six are non-historic (post 1950).

Note: This stated that there was only 87 burials in this cemetery.  My friend Theresa and I photographed all the headstones and fieldstone markers that were in this cemetery and we photographed  66 headstones marked with names and 38 unnamed fieldstones which gives us a total of 111 graves.  Keep in mind some of the fieldstones may have been footstones but I don't believe they were.  I researched as much as I could on the burial records for this cemetery and I only came up with 9 names that were not on headstone that are suppose to be buried here. These names came from lists located on Find A Grave and Luginbuel Funeral Home. The names on these list that were without marked headstone are:

1. Blake, Kizzie (Kisiah) 1840 - 1840
2. Pyeatt, N Kate 1894 – 1894
3. Obidiah Seay
4. Self, Elijah died 1833
5. Simpson, Porter 1905 - 1905
6. Whittenburg, Luna Lee 1873 - 1873
7. Witherspoon, Frank died 1863
8. Hicks, Ida Aug. 15, 1868 d. Nov. 3, 1932
9. Hicks, Peter Apr. 20, 1861 d. May 18, 1932


Bethlehem Cemetery
First Public Cemetery For
Washington County Arkansas
Has Been Placed On The
National Register
Of Historic Places
By The United States
Department O The Interior
c. 1830

The following excerpt is from the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program.
In 1826 a group of six families led by Hugh Simpson settled near Canehill. The pioneers settled on Indian land and shortly after soldiers from Ft. Gibson rode in and destroyed their crops in an attempt to force them off of the land, but this effort failed. Shortly after the soldiers had left the families returned to their land. These settlers built the Bethlehem Methodists Episcopal Church South in 1827, a year before Washington County was officially open to settlement. Bethlehem Cemetery is a direct result of the church. According to local Historian Robert Keen, this was the first church and first public burial ground in the county. All evidence up until this point supports this.


By the time the county was officially opened in 1828 the small community of Bethlehem had already formed along Fly Creek between the towns of Canehill and Vineyard (later called Evansville). The influx of white settlers was tremendous. Some of the first families to settle the area were the Simpsons, Carnahans and Pyeatts. All three of these families are represented in Bethlehem Cemetery. The Simpson family was in the first group ever to settle the area. The Pyeatts and Carnahans arrived together in 1828. They moved to the area from Crystal Hill near present day Little Rock. The leader of the group was John Carnahan, who in 1812 preached what is believed to be the first Protestant sermon ever in Arkansas. His wife Jane died on January 1, 1832 and was the first person to be buried at Bethlehem Cemetery. The next two burials were both children of the Pyeatt families: the first in 1833 and the second in 1834.

Residents of Bethlehem Cemetery
 Photographed by Tammi Thiele and Theresa Lundberg

Nollie H. Black
Dau of Ben M. and Orra (Pyeatt) Black
Died Aug 14, 1882
Aged 8 mos 12 ds

1. Isaac Watts Blake 1867 - 1948 Son of Samuel and Martha and Mattie R (Patterson) Blake 1887 - Unknown
2. Albert Sidney Blake 1871 - 1934 Son of John and Ann
3. Martha J Blake (Pyeatt) Mar 8, 1824 - Jan 7, 1913 and Samuel Blake Jan 5, 1818 - Mar 21, 1878
4. John Guyer Blake June 29, 1846 - Jan 29, 1899 Son of Samuel and Martha
5. Henry W Blake Died Dec 5, 1868 aged 8 years 3 mos 10 days, Son of Samuel and Martha
6. Laura J Blake Oct 3, 1879 - June 27, 1900 Dau of John G. and Ann E.

Ann E Blosser
Apr 2, 1847 - Aug 16, 1933

Note: Her maiden name is Evins. Ann's First Husband was John G Blake.

Jane
Wife of Rev John
Carnahan
Born 1770
Died
Jan 1, 1832

Note: Maiden name is Billingsley.  Jane was the first to be buried at this cemetery.

Netta Mae
Cates
1909 - 1937

Note: Wife of Floyd Cates. Daughter of Ren and Alice David.

 1. Thomas Benton David Jan 28, 1843 - Jan 18, 1921 and Pruudence Mae David Sept 04, 1840 -- May 30, 1925 
2. Verna Novella David March 22, 1919 - June 3, 2002
3. Fred H. David Nov 19, 1921 -Sept 23, 2005
4. Alice David 1881 - 1962 and Ren H. David 1882 - 1957

Frances O Evins
Nov 1, 1839 - Jan 28, 1903

Hugh Cruzier Evins
Aug 16, 1836 - Feb 4, 1872

1. Benjamin Hayles Died Aug 26, 1835 and Jacob Hayles Died Aug 26, 1835
2. Leah Hayles Nov 6, 1790 - Feb 9, 1880

Note: On August 26, 1835, Indians raided the home of Jacob, Benjamin and Leah Hayles killing both Jacob and Benjamin. Leah escaped by hiding in the well.

Gladys Effie
Dau of W.M. and F.L.
Hoalcroaft
Born
Sep 3, 1902
Died
Jun 24, 1903

Herber Blake
Hopkins
Feb 8, 1855
Jan 12, 1927

John Hull
Born
Jan 20, 1844
Died
Nov 23, 1904

Adeline Ish
Dec 15, 1826 - Oct 14, 1915

Martha Muse Oliver
Wife of B.F. Johnson
Born
Aug 22, 1808
Died
Jan 29, 1866

Note: In about 1822, Benjamin Franklin Johnson left Anderson County Tenn, and was there engaged in farming activities. On November 12, 1826, he married Martha Muse Oliver, a daughter of the long time sheriff of Anderson County Tenn. Charles Yarbrough Oliver, and a granddaughter of two Revolutionary War veterans, Douglas Oliver, a prominent businessman of Anderson County, and Henry Nunalley, also of Anderson County. Benjamin and Martha  set out in 1828 with their young daughter Caroline Frances for the newly opened Arkansas Territory. Their journey took them nearly 600 miles, and they became some of the earliest white settlers in Washington County, in northwest Arkansas. On January 29, 1866 Martha Muse Oliver Johnson died of a heart attack. She was 57 years old. (http://files.usgwarchives.org/ar/washington/bios/johnsonbf.txt)

The stone carvers signature is clearly visible on this marker.
Kingston and Balston Pierce City Mo

Lula C
Wife of O.C. Patterson
Born
Aug 14, 1877
Died
Jul 17, 1899

1. George F Pyeatt 1904 - 1905
2. Lily Inez Pyeatt 1887 - 1888
3. A.K. Pyeatt
4. Lorena M (Edmiston) Pyeatt 1863 - 1933 and George F Pyeatt 1855 - 1938 Son of Willaim and Mary
5. Mary M (Johnson) Pyeatt Jun 2, 1824 - Mar 20, 1881 Wife of William S
6. Fannie Orletar Pyeatt 1890 - 1899
7. Nettie J Pyeatt
8. Andrew Green Pyeatt  (Son) Jan 17, 1833 - Aug 13, 1833 and Arte Emmaline Pyeatt Mar 25, 1831 - Aug 30, 1934 (Dau) of Henry Porter and Icyphena
9. William S Pyeatt Feb 25, 1892 Aged 70 yrs 10ms 19 days Son of Henry Porter and Icyphena
10. Gladys Ethal Pyeatt 1902 - 1902

1. Hugh Simpson PVT Co B 34 Ark Inf CSA Jan 27, 1837 - May 23, 1903
2. Elizabeth Jane Simpson Dec 29, 1871 - Oct 7, 1916
3. Henrietta Ann Simpson Sep 25, 1842 - Sep 6, 1935

1. Violet Small Feb 20, 1902 - Apr 24, 1986
2. Amy M Small 1872 - 1948
3. Arthur M Small Jul 6, 1868 - May 27, 1903 Husband of Amy M
4. Frances M Small Nov 2, 1846 - Apr 1903 Wife of M.C.
5. Malcom Small 1843 - 1925

Mary M Smart
Wife of L Smart
Feb 5. 1849 - Aug 29, 1888

Thomas Self
Born July 1834
Died date is buried.

1. Infant Talley Died Jul 4, 1902 Son of  B.M. and E.E.
2. Emma Blake Talley 1857 - 1945 and Barry (Bud) Talley 1872 - 1958

T. Lacy
Son of T.S. and T
Tennant
Died
Sep 27, 1888
Aged 2 yrs 4 mos

Rev Thomas Hardister
1772 - 1886
Age 114 Years


Obit From Stevens Point Gazette, The (Stevens Point, Wisconsin) Jan 2, 1886.

One of Bethlehem’s most notable members was lay preacher Thomas Tennant, who joined the church in 1829. He had the distinction of being one of the oldest men ever to live in Washington County. Also, according to Methodist Church records, he was the oldest Methodist Preacher to ever live, reaching the age of one hundred and fourteen years. He was also on the board of directors that built Bethesda Academy,
which later became Bethesda School. When Thomas Tennant died October 9, 1885, his funeral was held in the Bethlehem Church, and he was buried in the Bethlehem Cemetery. His services were conducted by Reverend George Morrow, who founded the town of Morrow, Arkansas.
Rev. Thomas Hardister Tennant, b. Va.· Oct. 10, 1771; d. Washington Co. Ark., Oct •. I3, 1885 at age of 114. Was Methodist minister and circuit rider in Tenn., SE Mo., and ·Ark.
Was twice married ••
First wife: Christeen Hacker b. Arkansas Post Nov. 28,1800; .d. Washington Co .... Ark. 1845; was m. 1821 and had nine children: .. '. .
Second wife: Clarrissa Isibel White (Widow Clover);b. about 1811 d. Dec. 26, 1891; had 4 children
Note: There is some discrepancy in Christeen Hackers death date.  I found the following excerpt in Pioneers and makers of Arkansas pg 3338 - 339.


According to Abstracts of records from Bethlehem Church in Washington County, Arkansas listed in The Arkansas Historian; Vol. 43 No1; 2005
Marriage Record: Thomas H. Tennant to Mrs. Clarissa J. Slover, by Samuel Allen, 1844.
Death Record: Thomas H. Tennant, 9 October 1885.
Excerpt from History of Benton, Washington, Carroll, Madison, Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian Counties pg 145.


To the Memory of
Mary
Constort of Thos West
Dau of Elijah and Ann Renshaw
Died Jan 9, 1838
Aged 55

Thomas West
Born in North Carolina
Feb 28, 1777 - Mar 31, 1860

William J Wheeler
Born
Oct 2, 1827
Died
July 12, 1856
Aged 28 yrs 6 ms

1. Henry Whittenberg Feb 18, 1819 - Sept 12, 1901
2. Eliza B Rector Whittenberg Oct 18, 1821 - May 30, 1895
3. Thomas Whittenberg Jan 28, 1843 - Jan 18, 1921 and Prudence Whittenberg Sept 4, 1840 - May 30, 1925

1. Winna (Pogue) Williams Aug 31, 1809 - Apr 13, 1870
2. Elbert S Williams Aug 17, 1830 - Dec 5, 1858
3. Rev Ira Williams Nov 28, 1807 - Apr 22, 1890

The following are unknowns.

The top part is missing.
Died May 22, 1878

If you have any information on the unknown graves please let me know and I will add the information.

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