Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Cemeteries Worth the Visit - Bardstown Cemetery, Bardstown, Kentucky

Location in Kentucky
Bardstown Cemetery
Bardstown City Cemetery in Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky was established in 1852 with land purchased from Joseph Hart and James Doom.  The current City Cemetery is comprised of 15.5 acres and located in the northern section of town.  Over 3,100 people are interred here.

Bardstown Cemetery
Fenced Plot
Bardstown City Cemetery has many interesting and detailed stones.  Although few are ‘famous,’ you will find many that catch your eye.

James B. Beam
James Beam's Marker
One very famous interment is for Colonel James (Jim) Beauregard Beam, grandson of the man who developed a style of whisky known as Bourbon. Beam was born in 1864 in Kentucky and took over the family business from his father, David Beam.   Despite 13 years of Prohibition in this country, Beam kept the business profitable, turning it into a legendary American company. He was integral in the rebuilding of the distillery in 1933 in Clermont, Kentucky near Bardstown. In 1935 the bourbon was renamed Jim Beam Bourbon in J.B. Beam’s honor.  He died in Kentucky in 1947.

White Bronze Confederate Soldier
Bardstown Cemetery is also known for the white bronze Confederate Soldiers Statue.  The memorial is cast from zinc, standing on a limestone base.  The four side panels show the image of General Robert E. Lee, cannons and other war artillery.  The statue cost $900 when it was erected in 1903.  It stands among the sixty-seven Confederate graves of soldiers who died during area Civil War battles. Sixty-six of the soldiers died in 1862, including those at the Battle of Bardstown. Seventeen soldiers are unknown.

Battle of Bardstown
Unknown Soldier
The Battle of Bardstown occurred on October 4, 1862 between the towns of Bardstown and Nazareth, on what is now Highway 31 East. Confederate troops had marched into Bardstown before four Union regiments encircled them.  During this battle the Confederates broke free and withdrew to Perryville.  

8th Texas Cavalry
Confederate Graves
During this battle, the Eighth Texas Cavalry and its leader, Colonel John Wharton, were stationed at the Fairgrounds, ready to intercept the Union Army.  But the Rangers found themselves confronted by far superior numbers of the First and Fourth Kentucky, the Fourth Ohio and the Third Indiana Cavalry regiments.  The Texas Calvary fought hard and won.  It would be called the unit’s finest hour.  The battle is still reenacted each August in Bardstown.

Confederate Marker
Confederate Soldier
In May 2000, the Confederate Soldiers Statue was damaged when a tree fell on it during a storm.  The pieces were shipped to New York and the statue was restored by the Conservation and Sculpture Company.  Restoration cost was around $50,000 and over 90% of the monument was reconstructed from original pieces.  Two years later the statue returned to its place of honor in the cemetery.   It was listed on the National Registry of Historic Markers in 1997.  

Ben Johnson
Bardstown & St Joseph Cemeteries
St Josephs’ Cemetery is adjacent to the Bardstown City Cemetery.  It has over 4,500 interments, including U.S. Congressman Ben Johnson.  Johnson was born in Bardstown on March 19, 1858 and died there on June 4, 1950.  Johnson began as an attorney in 1882, and then was appointed as a member of the State House of Representatives in 1885.  He served as Speaker of the House in 1887, and was appointed as a collector of the Internal Revenue in 1893, a position he held for four years. He served as a U.S. Congressman from 1907 until 1927.

St Michael Defeating the Devil

Close Up of Statue Base
Another monument of interest in St Joseph's, is the statue of St Michael defeating the devil.  The details and the red coloring of the statue draws your attention from throughout the cemetery.

Bardstown Cemetery
Statue Descending Steps
Bardstown City Cemetery is located in the 800 block of North Third Street.  Contact Cemetery Sexton Bobbe Blincoe at (877) 348-5947 for hours and genealogy information.  The cemetery does not have a web site.

~ Joy


  1. Really like the red coloured statue of St. Michael - have seen many variations on that subject, but never one in red. Thanks for sharing!

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