Grave markers often show individuality, creativity and personality of the persons interred at the site, inspiring an interest among those who are drawn to cemeteries for comforting memories or to conduct genealogical research.
During her years doing extensive research and recording census in local cemeteries, Freda Massey visited 135 burial places in Stone County, many of which are family plots and some are abandoned.
Freda and Loy Massey now live in Paragould, but their years of research continue to benefit genealogists and others.
The oldest marked graves are in the eastern part of the county, Freda says. The Hess cemetery near Marcella, the Marchbanks graves in the Pleasant Grove Cemetery, and the nearby Brightwell cemetery have markers with death dates in 1848.
However, the oldest marked grave she has found is a Whitfield child born in 1832 and died May 7, 1844, buried in the McIntire cemetery in Bickles Cove.
Many grave sites are unmarked, Freda notes.
The St. James Cemetery is a historic one with raised markers, and the Jeffery Cemetery near the river on Hayden Heights Road has very ornate markers that were shipped from St. Louis, she says.
The marker at the grave of David Lynn in Bickles Cove Cemetery is noteworthy because it includes the name of the designer, H. J. Webush. People search for this kind of marker, Freda says, and Webush is famous.
The Loy and Freda Daum Massey Research Room at the Stone County Museum contains obituary records compiled by Freda with Loy’s companionship and assistance.
“The Stone County Cemetery publication is a researcher’s gold mine,” said Renee Carr, president of the Stone County Historical Society. The information can be searched by cemetery or by name, and a revised edition was published recently.
“So much work went into it that it makes me so grateful for Freda’s time and dedication.”
The Stone County Museum facility currently is closed for the winter, but if researchers from out of town need access, the research room sometimes can be made available.
Dec. 11 is the organization’s quarterly meeting, set for 2 p.m. in the Edwin Luther Auditorium at the museum complex at 210 School Avenue in Mountain View.
For those conducting online research of grave sites and cemeteries, the website www.FindAGrave.com is a valuable resource. Thousands of contributors submit new listings, updates, corrections, and photographs hourly. The site is largely operated by its founder, Jim Tipton of Utah, who has an interest in grave sites of famous individuals. There are 115 cemeteries listed for Stone County.
From the Dec. 7, 2016 issue.