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New area opened for old cemetery

by Annette Beard | January 17, 2023 at 8:15 a.m.
TIMES photograph by Annette Beard Steve Ferguson, his son, and Jeremy Jordan assisted in burning trees cut down to enlarge the Pea Ridge Cemetery Thursday, Jan. 12, 2023.

The old Pea Ridge Cemetery is full and is being enlarged.

Members of the Cemetery Board recently cut down trees separating two acres owned by the board to provide more lots.

"We have two acres here," said Steve Jordan, board treasurer. "This was going to be a subdivision at one time.

"Jack Musteen owned this land and it was to be called Pea Ridge Estates," Jordan said, explaining that as the subdivision did not get built, the land was purchased by the cemetery board. "Some of the land was purchased from Jackie Crabtree when he lived on McCulloch Street."

"We are opening a new area of the cemetery," he said. The adjacent home owner and board members agreed the tall pine trees needed to be removed. "It is easier to remove these trees now before any burials are placed there."

"We hope to burn the brush today," Jordan said Thursday.

"The members of the Cemetery Board are taking care of maintenance issues for future generations," Jordan said, expressing concern for the future as the cemetery land fills and as "all the good land will be houses and no place for a cemetery."

"I'm thankful the Board members had the foresight to buy this land back in the 1990s. If they had not, we'd about be out of business!" he said.

"There's less than a dozen plots left to sell in the old part and most are single plots. There are no side by side plots left for couples," Jordan said.

Jordan, who has a long history in town, said his grandmother Jordan served on the board for 30 years, that Jimmie Webb served for 55 years and Russell Walker served for 50 years.

Jordan served as president until the passing of Jerry Nichols, former treasurer of the board and then took his place. The current board includes president Jane Cooley, vice president Mary Durand and members Brenda Jordan, Anthony Miller and Jerome Grotts. All board members are trustees and issue deeds.

Jordan marks and sells plots and locates old burials. He said there are about 2,700 graves and burials in the cemetery with several old unmarked graves and some marked with just a sand stone marker.

"I've got the minutes from 1955 on up but nothing that tells the history how it started," Jordan said.

Many of the first residents of the city are buried there. The George Foster Family is buried there. They owned what would become downtown Pea Ridge.

"Pea Ridge" Day -- Henry Clyde Day (1899-1934) is buried in the cemetery. He was a right-handed pitcher in Major League baseball.

"When the old board put the sign out by Weston Street," Jordan said, "they put 1862 as the date, but we believe there are older burials than that in the cemetery in the back near the Bushwhacker burial site."

Print Headline: Pea Ridge Cemetery expanded

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