It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to maintain the final resting place of generations of families. The Arbovale Cemetery Association takes great measures to ensure the cemetery is kept in good shape and that it continues to be a peaceful place for family members to visit, to remember and honor friends, family and ancestors.
This past August and September, the cemetery saw a few changes and improvements. In August, the arch at the main entrance arch was damaged when a large truck tried to enter the cemetery.
Thankfully, the truck owner’s insurance will pay to replace the wrought iron arch.
It was during that time as well that several trees in the main cemetery were cut down. Association president Charles Sheets explained that the trees have been an issue for many years, causing damage to gravestones and graves. Although the trees were loved by some who enjoyed their shade, it was determined that they had become a problem, with roots encroaching into plots and branches falling onto gravestones.
As one of the largest cemeteries in the county, the Arbovale Cemetery has a rich history, dating back to pre-Civil War. On the site was the old Deer Creek Union Log Church.
In the cemetery’s history, written by Harry Dale Sutton, the writer imagined what it was like for the first settlers to see the land and stake claim for their church.
“It must take us back before the War between the States,” he wrote. “To a time when the future of America looked bright, and hope was burning in every heart. It takes us back to a time when the young men were honest and true and the young women were virtuous and fair. Those people were strong and brave who loved God and their fellowmen. Yes, it was from such our Nation was founded.”
The old log church was built in 1790 or 1791, predating the first deed for the land which was made in 1831 to the trustees of the Deer Creek congregation – Benjamin Tallman, George Burner and James Wooddell.
The cemetery association was organized in 1943 by C.E. Flynn, who served as the organization’s first president. In an article written by Nola Shears, it was stated that the cemetery entrance archway was erected in August of 1962.
The archway was held aloft by two brick columns. The right column has the dedication – “In memory of Clarence E. Flynn, whose unselfish devotion to the welfare of Pocahontas County has given him a lasting place in the hearts of our people.”
The left column is dedicated to the second president of the association, Delbert Gillispie. It reads – “In memory of Delbert Gillispie, whose dedication and concern helped many in their time of greatest need. This will remain an inspiration for all of us.”
The association is now in the process of replacing and repairing the archway.
With such a rich history comes a great responsibility to the association members, that of ensuring the cemetery remains a place to celebrate the memories of those who founded this county and carved a path for their descendants.
The founders’ stones stand resolute and tall in the older portion of the cemetery, surrounded by the more modern and intricate stones of recent generations.
The cemetery is also a place to remember and honor the sacrifices of servicemen and women who served the country since the Civil War. Each year, the Pocahontas County Veterans Honor Corps holds ceremonies on Memorial Day and Veterans Day.
The next event, Wreaths Across America, will be held Saturday, December 16, at noon. The Honor Corps will place Christmas wreaths around the flagpole at the cemetery entrance for each branch of the military and will present a 21-gun salute during the ceremony.
Arbovale Cemetery is one of hundreds across the country that will participate in the event, which is held in conjunction with the Wreaths Across America ceremony held at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.