Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cemeteries Worth the Visit – Richmond Cemetery, Richmond, KY



Richmond Cemetery is located in Richmond, Kentucky is the largest cemetery in Madison County.  The city originally had a graveyard located on a knoll near town, but it had reached capacity and another location was needed. Unfortunately the history of this cemetery and the Richmond Cemetery, up to August 1862, were lost when Confederate soldiers broke into the courthouse and stole the original cemetery records during the Civil War.

In January 1848 the Kentucky General Assembly incorporated the Richmond Cemetery.  An additional 18 acres were purchased in the early 1850’s.  The cemetery was dedicated on May 31, 1856.  The next day, June 1st the first burial took place.  The first to be interred was Jane Todd Breck, wife of U.S. Representative Daniel Breck, and aunt to Mary Todd Lincoln.


The cemetery now consists of over 70 acres located in the middle of town.  The rolling hills and winding roads add to the peaceful feel, even though you can hear traffic (and the EKU marching band) throughout the cemetery.  Trees and flowers are prolific throughout the cemetery, giving it a true Rural Cemetery feel.  Stones range from simple to extremely ornate obelisks, statues and sculpture.  There are no mausoleums, but a public vault was added in 1900.


Cassius M. Clay
Clay Memorial
Kentucky governors, and members of Richmond’s prominent families: the Clays, Chenaults and Tribbles are buried here, along with Kentucky abolitionist, Cassius M. Clay.  Clay grew up the son of one of the wealthiest landowners and slaveholders in Kentucky.  Clay became an ardent anti-slave crusader and served three times in the Kentucky House of Representatives. Clay is whom Muhammad Ali was named for.



Depiction of his murder
Captain James Estill
Kentucky frontiersman, Captain James Estill has a memorial that commands attention.  Estill, one of the first Madison County settlers, was killed by Indians in 1782 in the Battle of Little Mountain, near Mount Sterling, Kentucky.  His monument depicts his murder as a Wyandotte Indian prepares to stab him in the chest.  Atop the monument, Estill stands, dressed in a fringed coat, holding his rifle and gazing out over the town.


Civil War Monument
Confederate Monument
In 1862, a portion of the Battle of Richmond was fought in the cemetery with soldiers using tombstones for cover!  The Confederate troops pushed the Union soldiers into the graveyard where they proceeded to defeat them.  Over 240 Union troops are buried here.  Over 175 Confederate soldiers are buried in a mass grave marked with a small stone that says “The Southern Dead.”  A new monument was later erected and dedicated to all Civil War soldiers buried there.
The cemetery also is the burial site to a Revolutionary War captain.

Vandalism
Over 100 gorgeous old monuments and stones were toppled and damaged in April 2010 when vandals broke into the cemetery.  Many were irreplaceable.





The Richmond Cemetery is located on East Main Street in Richmond, Kentucky.  It is open from 8:00 A.M. until 4 P.M.  You may reach them at (859) 623-2529 for information on genealogical research.  The cemetery does not have a web site or Facebook presence.






The Richmond Cemetery is well worth an afternoon, even a day, to explore.  The older part is a treasure trove of statues, monuments and stone bearing interesting and informative symbols and epitaphs.

~ Joy





12 comments:

  1. I too love Cemetery wandering. My kids call it my " Morbid Obsession. " I have tried to take & post as many Markers as I can on findagrave.com. I am LadyDi_60 on that site. I find it truley interesting and fulfilling to help others . I have been able to locate a lot of my own relative's burial sites through this endeavor. I especially like WOW markers. I still have not been able to involve my Husband in this, but he will let me take pictures at Cemeteries on our travels to other states. Thank you for this site. Will be adding it to my Favorites.

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  2. Thank you LadyDi_60! I love the phrase "Morbid Obsession!" I suppose it seems that way to a lot of people. My husband and I shoot quite differently when we go to a cemetery. He looks for the things that are out of place - flowers duct taped to a stone or odd juxtapositions. I look for sculpture and beauty, something that tells a story. And I too love the tree stones! Thanks for reading and commenting!!

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  3. I hope the vandals are now resting quietly in Richmond Cemetery!!!!!

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    1. I think we need a "Like" button, Greg. I'm sure several people would have "liked" your comment - including me!!

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  4. I know I like the comment. My mother's family is all buried in Richmond. They are the Cornelison family. Thanks for the interesting information.....

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    1. You'r welcome. The Richmond Cemetery is one of my favorites - soooo much history there.

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  5. I found this old grave in Madison county in 2013 . mike Shelton.

    http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=pv&GRid=111333679&PIpi=81189595

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  6. I also am on find a grave. My name is Terri Sadler. I live on the street going into the cemetery. I too am a wanderer in cemeteries. I have taken several pics that i am going to put into print and frame them. As soon as i get a request, i try to go ahead and take them. I moved to Richmond in Dec. 2011 so some of these cemeteries i have a hard time finding.

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    1. Hi Terri, Richmond Cemetery is such a classic, peaceful place to go. I love those old stones, and it always seems to have a nice but moody vibe. There are several old, quaint cemeteries around there. And, if you haven't been to Lexington Cemetery - GO! It will be a day well spent.

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  7. What a joy to stumble across your site. My father's family is from Richmond, and numerous generations of them are buried there. In fact, my parents and great-grandparents are buried no more than about 40-50 yards from James Estill. Cassius Clay (who was also at one time the ambassador to Russia)was a personal friend of my great-grandparents, and I have an autographed copy of his memoirs given to my family. I've spent countless hours walking through the cemetery, and it is indeed a treasure. Thanks for the work that you've done!
    - Phillip Million

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    1. Thank you, Phillip! The Estill monument is quite thought-provoking with it's graphic tale of the murder. I spent many hours wandering Richmond Cemetery when I lived down there. It is a wonderful place to go to walk and think. And you are so right - it is a beautiful treasure!

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