A Historical Sketch of the Georgetown Cemetery
I am attempting to do something that I don't think has been done before, but have felt for some time it needed to be in print. That is to write a history of the Georgetown Cemetery. If I should misstate a fact or omit some information, please believe that it was unintentional and due strictly to my inexperience in such an undertaking.
On March 7, 1850, the Georgetown Cemetery was incorporated by the following citizens; Messrs. Manilus V. Thompson, William B. Keene, J.F. Robinson, J.R. Ward, D.G. Hatch, J.T. Pratt, F.E. Farnam, B.F. Payne, P.L. Mitchell, J. Thompson, AvinDuvall, T.C. Kelley, James M. Frost, James H. Daviess, D. Howard Smith, John Wallace Keene, D.M. Runyon, R.M. Ewing and J.T. Craig. Among these names we find many community leaders of that day who saw the need for this cemetery and took it upon themselves to undertake such a project.
A committee was appointed from this group to solicit funds and select a site. It was not until December 5, 1859 that nine of the original incorporators met to accept the report of this committee and to confirm the purchase of the proposed site. The committee had raised $4,300.00 and were authorized to purchase thirty acres from R.H. Haggard, giving their note for the balance of the money. They paid $200.00 per acre for the land. The original incorporators then appointed the following seven men to serve as trustees; Messrs. Harvey C. Graves, John F. Warren, John G. Morrison, Beri C. Glass, Marcellus Polk, F.C. McCalla and James F. Robinson. Of these men, John F. Warren was elected president, Beri C. Glass was directed to collect subscriptions, J.F. Robinson was appointed to see that the charter was properly amended and Marcellus Polk was to correspond with other cemeteries for information on regulations, price of lots, etc.
The first lot was sold to Harvey C. Graves. The first superintendent of this cemetery was Thomas Breen, followed by James Anderson, Charles Olderog, Pat Henry, Alex Hassloch, Robert Acke, Frank Trimble, and H.G. Congleton. The present superintendent is Donald Lynn.
Over the years, a very dedicated group of people have served as trustees, among whom have been Messrs. John A. Bell, Noah Spears, John W. Payne, H. Craig, James G. Lemon, John S. Gaines, E. Offutt, J.J. Rucker, J.F. Gasner, James E. Cantrill, J.D. Smith, R.H. Nutter, V.F. Bradley, J.D. Grover, John A. Herring, Warren G. Graves, James W. Thomason, George W. Ware, Eugene Rucker, L.H. Sublett, A.K. Stone, R.Q. Ward, R.B. Thomas, J.I. Daves, J. Willie Hall, Grover Shropshire, V.A. Bradley, Jr., Freeman Showalter, L.H. Sublett, Jr. Richard Rawdon and Hall Wolfe. Women who have served are Mrs. Josephine Crutchlow, Mrs. Joe Gaines and Miss Jame Lewis. The present board consists of the following; C.A. Mifflin, President, Clay McKnight,Vice President, Horace Hambrick, Evelyn Wolfe, Pauline Sublett. Gervis Showalter and Horace Gaines.
A very special event in the history of the cemetery was the opening of the Hamilton Street entrance on November 1, 1949. The wrought iron gate and limestone columns were a gift of Mrs. James F. Askew, a longtime supporter of the cemetery.
The Georgetown Cemetery is the final resting place for many persons who gained fame while on this earth. They include Gov. James F. Robinson, Gov. Joseph Desha, Confederate Gov. George Johnson who was killed at Shiloh and the Hon. James C. Cantrill, the Democratic nominee for Governor who died shortly before the general election. He had served in Congress as has the Hon. W.C. Owens and the Hon. A.P. Grover.
Also buried in the cemetery are James E. Cantrill, Lieut. Gov. and the father of the Hon. James C. Cantrill, Judge James F. Askew, Scott County's representative to the 1891 Constitutional Convention, Federal Judges H. Church Ford and John Wm. Showalter. The World Chess Champion, Jackson Showalter is also buried here along with two famous artists; the landscape artist, Will Hunleigh and one of the world's most famous equine artist, Edward Troye.
A bit of royalty can be found in the cemetery, Countess Elizabeth Magoffin Garnett and her husband, Capy. William Peter Garnett, Earl of Egglescliffe, of Green Park castle, Meathe County, Ireland. She was descended from Issac Shelby, the first governor of Kentucky, and a great niece of Henry Clay and of George Rogers Clark.
There are a number of distinguished educators buried here. To mention a few are Thornton Fitzhugh Johnson, J.J. Rucker, Dr. A.L. Rhoton, Danforth Thomas, Dr. R.M. Dudley, J.E. Farnam and J.W. Lancaster.
Among the physicians in the Georgetown Cemetery are Dr. William L. Sutton who organized the Kentucky State Medical Society and was its first president. He was also the author of Kentucky's Vital Statistics Law. Dr. John A. Lewis who was the Adjutant of the Kentucky Ninth Calvary and later was president of the Morgan's Men's Association. Also there is Drs. E.C. Barlow, Paul Rankins, F.F. Bryan, J.C. Thomasson, W.H. Coffman, David Knox, John E. Pack, B.C. Keene, John A. Hamilton, and more recently H.G. Wells, L.F. Heath, A.F.Smith, W.S. Allphin and C.R. Lewis.
The bodies of veterans of nine wars lie buried in this sacred place and each Memorial Day the V.F.W. and the American Legion pay tribute to them with an appropriate service at the grave site.
In June of 1888, the Confederate Monument was dedicated, presided over by Dr. John A. Lewis. The Ladies Monument Association had gathered from the county and from the old city cemetery eighteen bodies, two of whom had been ordered shot by the military commander of Kentucky, General Stephen Burbridge. This dedicatory service was preceded by a parade as had never been seen here before, attracting a crowd of thousands from throughout the state.
Another landmark event was the erection of the beautiful stone chapel and residence in 1927 and with that we associate the names of Rhodes Thomas, Horace Grover and Eugene Rucker who were members of the board at that time. The contractor was Tilman Kemper, father of Georgetonian, Mary Frye.
The following lots are available for purchase: