The Kentucky Leader; Lexington, Kentucky; May 22, 1889; Page 5 column 2-3



The Plaintiffs Give Bond and the Work of Disinterment Ceased - A Visit to the Graveyard - Scenes, Interviews, etc.

On complaint of Hugh S. Driggs, G. T. McElroy, A. H. Jackson, S. W. Marrs, Fabius A. Harrison, P. A. Tate, and Maggie, his wife, Lizzie Miller and J. E. Miller, her husband, Elizabeth Neal, Ben Franklin and Ellen, his wife; Wm. L. Taylor, Nannie Warren and George J. Warren, her husband, A. L. Hardin, Benevolent Society No. 1, Judge Jerre R. Morton granted the following injunction against Messrs. Joseph M. Scott, T. T. Skillman, R. H. Courtney, and the First and Second Presbyterian Churches, at 12 o'clock today:

"The undersigned, Judge of the Fayette Circuit Court, upon the within petition directs the clerk to issue and grant an injunction restraining the defendants, and each of them and their attorneys and councellors, and servants and agents from removing land-marks, trees, shrubs, vaults, tombstones or fences from the graveyard premises, described in plaintiffs petition and from digging up or removing any dead bodies or mortal remains of those buried in said graveyard, from their graves or from said premises, and from converting said premises to building lots or any purpose excepting that of a graveyard, until the further order of the court. This order being granted without notice to defendants it is ordered that the court reserves the right and power to modify or change this order at any time during the May term of the court upon application of defendants and upon reasonable notice to plaintiffs. The clerk will not issue said injunction until plaintiffs have given bond, with good security, to pay to defendants any damages they may sustain if it be finally decided that this order ought no to have been granted.

"J. R. Morton, Judge."

A prominent lawyer says he cannot tell whether or not the injunction will be perpetuated, but he went on to say that there is one feature in this graveyard case that has not been touched on, and that is this: if the purchasers of the graveyard do not remove all the remains from the ground, the chances are that in after years when foundations and cellars for houses are being dug the bones will be thrown out and perhaps go to some fertilizing establishment.

"But how about the law on this subject?"

"Well I don't know about that, but I do know the statutes of Kentucky prohibit railroads or turnpikes from running through graveyards and cemeteries."

Another gentleman said he thought the injunction could easily be dissolved and that the work of removing the dead would soon go on again. He thought it was a humane work, as the old neglected graveyard is no proper place for the dead to remain.

The writ of injunction was placed in the hands of Sheriff Rogers, who sent Deputy Wilkerson to serve it. He did so and Mr. Courtney went to the graveyard and told the hands to stop work as soon as they finished removing the bones from the two graves that were opened.

It is understood the defendants will at once apply for a hearing of the injunction, and will do all in their power to have it dissolved.


As there has been so much written and printed and talked about the removal of the dead from the old Presbyterian Cemetery, on North Limestone Street, a LEADER representative visited the place this morning for the purpose of seeing just how the work is being done.

A large force of colored men were found digging in numerous graves. Some twenty of thirty colored men and women and probably a dozen white men women and five or six children were intently watching the proceedings. There was very little levity manifest by any of those present, although idle curiosity was evidently the cause of many being there.
In the grave where an old colored woman named Buckner was buried a young black man was busily shoveling up her bones. First he threw up some small bones, and then the skull all covered with hair was brought to view. Several feet above the rotten coffin in which the bones of Mrs. Buckner were found, there was discovered in a well-preserved white coffin the remains of an unknown child.

In another part of the graveyard two negroes were engaged in digging up the bones of a colored man. The coffin had gone to pieces and the dirt had fallen in on the bones, so that it was a very difficult job to get the bones out. They were all finally found and put into a little wooden box three feet long, one foot wide and one foot deep. Bodies not entirely gone are put in larger boxes, which are about the size of an ordinary coffin.

Nearly all the trees and shrubbery have been cut down, and the many open graves, boxes of bones, curious spectators and deathlike quietude of the place all combined to make the scene a most impressive one.

Yesterday the body of a six-year-old boy, Willie A. Dudley, was exhumed in a metalic case, and from appearances the remains were supposed to be mummyfied, and were in a good state of preservation. THe body was shipped to San Francisco this morning, where relatives live. Willie Dudley was the nephew of John B. Norton, ex-Circuit Clerk of Fayette County. His father's name was David Dudley.

The old Duncan vault is full of boxes containing remains of white persons, and one metalic case had an unknown woman in it, whose features are well-preserved.

From the Presbyterian graveyard THE LEADER representative went to the colored cemetery, on Seventh Street, to see how he remains of colored people are buried. C. O. H. Thomas was in charge of the work, and was very courteous in explaining matters. In the back of the cemetery not far from the line fence, a trench about two and a half feet deep was being dug, into which the boxes containing the remains were put, four boxes being laid side by side  about a foot apart. The large boxes reach to the top of the ground, and the tops of the small ones are about six or eight inches below the sod. Many of the persons present expressed the opinion that the interment is entirely too shallow.

Mr. Thomas said the purchasers of the Presbyterian graveyard had not bought any ground from the colored cemetery, but they paid the latter 50 cents for each small box buried and $1 for each large one. He said there would be about three hundred to bury all told. Twenty-seven were buried yesterday and twenty-five today.