Two years ago, my youngest sister asked me if I knew about the graves on the side of the road. She and her son had seen them as they drove down Arkansas Highway 5 to run errands in a growing town that has almost swallowed up the countryside.
The remains of a family cemetery. . . the family was the Paisley and Elizabeth Kirkpatrick family, originally from North Carolina.
The graves are less than fifty yards off the highway. There are five graves with markers, and orange flags that look as if they mark three more graves without stones, one heartbreakingly small.
The graves must have been found by heavy equipment operators moving earth to create the parking lot you can see at the top of the photo.
Paisley and Elizabeth Allen Kirkpatrick married on March 12, 1833 in Orange County, North Carolina. Six of their seven children were born in North Carolina before they moved to Saline County, Arkansas between 1847 and 1852 to farm several hundred acres there.
Their last child, Elizabeth C Kirkpatrick was born not quite two months after her father died on August 17, 1852.
Hannah Kirkpatrick, the second oldest of the Kirkpatrick girls, married Ambrose Thompson in 1856, and the couple helped Hannah's widowed mother keep the farm going. Hannah and her husband had a daughter, Serepta, born in 1857.
Serepta was just a toddler when she lost her mother.
I found Serepta twice in the 1860 census. She was listed living with Hannah and Ambrose Thompson on July 7, 1860, the day her mother died. Then, five days later, the grieving Ambrose Thompson must have gone to his parents' home in Pulaski County with his young daughter, because they are listed on the census there, taken on July 12, 1860. That's the last time Serepta Thompson can be found on a US census. It makes me wonder if the tiny little grave marked with orange flags is hers. . .
Lemuel Kirkpatrick, fourth child of Elizabeth and Paisley, enlisted in Company E, First Arkansas Infantry, Confederate States Army in April, 1861. He was mustered into service three weeks later at Lynchburg, VA, and was mortally wounded on December 31, 1862 at Murphreesboro, TN.
I found this marker at the foot of Elizabeth Kirkpatrick's grave and puzzled over it. . . EKM? Was this yet another grave?
It's not. It's the footstone for Elizabeth Allen Kirkpatrick Medford, who married John Medford in 1861, and died in 1862.