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A Lost Cemetery of Grave ImportancePosted Saturday, November 12, 2011, at 3:33 PM
Last week we became Arkansas Travelers, again, and drove down to Little Rock from Eureka Springs, AR. Our main reason for the vacation was to see The Celtic Thunder Irish Singers at the Robinson Center and to stay at the Peabody Hotel. It was also a beautiful fall foliage trip.
Our other reason for traveling south was to see if an attraction that we visited in 2007 was still available for visitors and it was!
In 2007, we had read that a lost cemetery was found in Little Rock. Jay Grelen's Sweet Tea column in the Arkansas Democrat Gazette told us all about it. It was the Fawbush/Chambers Family cemetery.
It seems that ten years ago Gregg and Julie Curtis bought seven acres of land on Cantrell Road in Little Rock to set up a garden center. They named their nursery The Good Earth. However, unbeknownst to Gregg and Julie, their new business had a forgotten grave yard right in the center of it.
The Fawbush/Chambers cemetery has been located on the recent garden center's land since the 1840s, but had been lost due to county registrar mistakes. Since the land was never registered as a cemetery, and no one had been buried there since the late 1930s, the county didn't know it was selling a cemetery when it sold the property for back taxes. In the old days, the property through which Hickory Creek runs was a favorite overnight spot for pioneers in covered wagons.
When the cemetery was discovered by Curtis, it was covered with brambles and poison ivy. Curtis and all the Good Earth employees cleared away the debris and found many old graves. They also found a seventy foot magnolia tree which may be the tallest in Arkansas.
But the plots were the main focus as they lay hidden under a verdant canopy of sweet gum trees.
One of the older legible headstones is dated 1882 and marks Henry Wilson's grave who died at the age of six months. The most recent stone is dated February 18, 1937 and marks Luther Gaskins' grave who was a private in the U.S. Marine Corps. There are many Chambers and Fawbush, but several stones are too worn to read and/or covered by lichens. Other markers are literally that; just large rocks to indicate plots.
Since the discovery of the cemetery, the Good Earth Nursery has given it the perpetual care it deserved and missed for so many years. Of course, Little Rock has its sour ball citizens just as in Eureka Springs. Several mean spirited snoops came out to critique the cemetery's upkeep. They, of course, found fault as sour balls will. However, I can guarantee, the folks at Good Earth are 21st century angels for a 19th century eternal rest. Bless them.
The Good Earth Garden Center is located at 15601 Cantrell Road, Little Rock, AR 72223. The phone number is (501) 868-4666.
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I'm Enid. No, not the town in Oklahoma, but a transplant to Eureka Springs from Minneapolis fourteen years ago. I'm a writer, journalist and sometime artist. My real love is expressing my opinions on almost any subject, as you have seen in my many letters to the Editor of The Lovely County Citizen over the years. Now, I'm happy to say that I will be writing a blog titled In a Twist for your amusement, amazement or commiseration. Thanks for giving me a read.