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Work continues on Little Mount

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By Linda Ireland

The rehabilitation of Little Mount Cemetery is a painstaking process.

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The graveyard on Leafdale Road – with ties to Abraham Lincoln – saw its last burial about 100 years ago. The church building was destroyed by a windstorm in 1909 and the cemetery, surrounded by farmland, was taken over by trees, poison ivy and sawbriars.

Several people have attempted to make improvements over the years – but have been overwhelmed by the magnitude of the project – and lack of funding. Many of the 100-or-so tombstones are broken, buried under tangles of weeds and tree limbs or sunk into the bark of large trees that were saplings when the interments took place.

Beverly Heath, a member of the LaRue County Genealogy Society, has spearheaded the recent improvements at the site. A 4-H group cleared some of the property – “but it was too large a job for children,” said Heath.

Inmates from the LaRue County Detention Center used chainsaws, hand tools and string trimmers to make paths through the cemetery a couple of months ago.

Wednesday, a crew from Nolin RECC and Asplundh donated an hour to cut down a large dead tree – known as a widow maker – at the site. The 40-foot tree was mostly rotten, detached from the ground and lodged against a group of other large trees.

Heath said the tree had been determined “to be a danger.”

Russell Davis, an Asplundh worker, climbed a nearby tree and attached ropes to the dead tree. Merle Roof made several cuts to the base of the tree while other workers used the ropes to steady its descent.

Heath said fellow Genealogy Society member Timmy Brown contacted Nolin for assistance with the tree – and was pleased they offered to help. Brown had planned to be at the site on Wednesday but was dealing with an illness in his family.

Dorothy Allen, who owns the land surrounding the cemetery, has been supportive of the work, said Heath.

Heath said the cemetery has importance to the county’s history. It’s the burial spot of a Revolutionary War soldier, Thomas Wilkins, and the county’s first sheriff, Jonathan Cessna.

Rebecca Redmond West, a playmate of Sarah Lincoln – sister of Abraham Lincoln – is buried there with her husband, Sylvester.

According to Lincoln lore, 9-year-old Abraham Lincoln wrote to Rev. David Elkin, the minister at Little Mount, and asked him to perform the funeral service for his mother who had died in 1818 on the family farm in Indiana. Rev. Elkin is said to have complied with the request, making his way from Kentucky on horseback.

Little Mount Separate Baptist Church was established when an anti-slavery group split from South Fork Baptist Church. Thomas and Nancy Lincoln – the parents of Abraham Lincoln – are believed to have been among the 15-or-so members who left.

If you would like to help clean up the cemetery – or make a donation toward its care – contact Heath at the LaRue County Genealogy Society at 270-358-4820.