The Kentucky Leader, Lexington ,Kentucky; May 20, 1889; Page 5 column 2


REMOVING THE DEAD

FROM THE OLD PRESBYTERIAN GRAVEYARD, ON LIMESTONE STREET,

To Choice Locations in the Lexington and Colored Cemeteries - A Disposition to Interfere With the Work of Removal.

The bodies in the old Presbyterian graveyard on North Limestone Street, are being disinterred for the purpose of burial in the Lexington cemetery and the colored people’s cemetery. The old graveyard was the property of the First and Second Presbyterian Churches, and was half a century ago the leading burying-ground in Lexington.Upon the opening of the Lexington cemetery many of the leading lot-owners of the Presbyterian Cemetery removed their dead to the new grounds, and the old grounds have gradually fallen into disuse. Although burials of white and colored people were made from time to time, the grounds were more or less neglected, and some years ago were declared a nuisance by the grand jury.

The city ten years ago prohibited the churches from allowing further burials to be made there, and since that time the old grounds have grown more dilapidated from year to year. For years past they have been an eyesore to the people of that neighborhood, and a scandal to the entire city. The heavy growth of shrubbery has afforded hiding places for drunken and dissolute characters, and what should have been a sacred spot has been in fact a place of assignation.

The Kentucky Legislature at its last session passed a bill granting the two Presbyterian Churches authority to sell the grounds, provided that all identified bodies were carefully disinterred and properly reinterred in other cemeteries, and that all headstones and other distinguishing marks were removed to the new abode of the dead.

Under the authority of this act the trustees of the two churches sold the property to Joseph M. Scott, who in turn sold to R. H. Courtney and T. T. Skillman each a third interest in the same. These gentlemen contracted to remove and reinter all the bodies in accordance with the act of the Legislature, and they purchased a beautiful site near the lake in the Lexington cemetery and a choice plat in the colored cemetery on Seventh Street. They purchased the large Duncan vault for $300, and as rapidly as bodies are disintered they are placed in that receptacle to await preparations for their reinterment. This purchase was necessary to avoid the building of a temporary vault for this purpose. The work of removing the dead is now in progress, under the immediate supervision of the two Presbyterian Churches, and is being carefully and properly done.

THE LEADER is informed that a movement is on foot to give the two churches and the above gentlemen some trouble, and to prevent, if possible, the removal of the dead to a decent place of burial. An effort is being made to hold a meeting at the old graveyard at 5 o’clock this evening, and THE LEADER has been asked to publish communications denouncing the churches and the gentlemen who have purchased the property.

We know nothing of the legal points involved, but we do know that the old graveyard is a disgrace to the community, an eyesore to hundreds of good citizens, and a bar to the development of an important section of the city. In looking upon the matter as we do, we cannot lend our support to the obstructive movement, and hope that the gentlemen engineering it will withdraw their opposition.