Old cemetery needs help to save it from disappearing

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

BLACK OAK, AR (KAIT) - There are a number of old cemeteries around Region 8. Some regularly maintained, while others have disappeared into overgrowth with no family members left to tend to the site.

One Region 8 cemetery needs help to avoid being forgotten.

The Mangrum cemetery is named after early settler Isaac Newton Mangrum and sits near the St. Francis river in Eastern Craighead County.

But the first person buried here was Nancy Varner. Through the years these and other families have disappeared from the area.

Paul Taylor and his wife Madge help oversee the cemetery.

The cemetery shows it's age in the style and condition of headstones. Few are the modern type we see today. Most are ancient marble or granite, and some even homemade concrete.

The Taylor's are able to have someone to mow the cemetery from time to time but sometimes it's tough to raise the money. The community used to have a "Chicken Dinner" to help raise funds but those organizers have since passed away.

Taylor, "We just take up money from the community and I got some folks in Michigan their mother is buried out here and they send me money. But that is the only way we get money to keep this up."

Many of the trees are also damaged - both from the ice storm in 2009 and strong storms this summer.

Taylor, "Looked like a bomb had hit it. But we got the county to help clean the limbs up."

What the Taylor's would like to see is volunteers, perhaps a Boy Scout Troop or Girl Scout Troop or church members or just volunteers from the community. They would come out and spend some time putting the headstones back together again and just cleaning up around the cemetery.

Taylor, "We get some to set them up and try to glue them back together.All our folks is gone and we need to respect them if we can."

There is a lot of work that needs to be done but Taylor has his priorities.

"I'd like to get the tombstones set up and cleaned. Some of them are so bad you can't read the names."

You can call the Taylor's at 870-482-3078 or mail donations to them at P.O. Box 6, Caraway, AR 72419

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