Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Let us so live...

Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.
--Mark Twain (1835-1910) American Humorist, Writer and Lecturer

I recently came across the sad remnants of an old cemetery outside of Kingsport, TN. The stones were leaned up on a tree in the middle of a cow pasture. I stopped and took some photos and upon looking at them later I became curious about this small family cemetery. The stones I could read bore the surname "Lady" and dated to the early 1900s, with many looking to be much older. A topo map of the area noted the location of "Lady Cemetery" and online I found this brief note about the "Lady home place":

"For the benefit of those who may want to find this Lady site, the William Lady house is still standing. It is a 2-story hewn log structure, now covered with siding, with a cornerstone marked "L.A.D.Y. 1796" The site is located on Buttermilk Road.... Across the road is a cemetery with several graves, including those for William Lady (1795-1869) and his wife, Jane (1797-1879). The date on the cornerstone raises questions because the first deeds indicate a Lady presence in the area are early 1800s."

Another website noted that in "1803, Jacob Lady settled on 238 acres [in Sullivan County] purchased from Conrad Isley." Not sure of the relation, but perhaps this was William's father.

It's sad to me that the stories of these early settlers have been lost -- and the cemetery so neglected. Makes me want to go out there and at least record the markers. (Not sure what good that would do, but I hate to think that history would be lost!). This reminded me of a previous post.


  1. I totally agree with you - seems there should be something that could be done so those that are buried there are not forgotten. Especially since the stones aren't exactly marking their resting places anymore.

  2. I found your site the other day. I have it set as my startup page. This is an amazing compilation that I am so grateful for - and I just love your photography. I will be watching daily. Thank you for continuing to post. If I may - where exactly is this? I would love to visit once myself... but you said it was in the middle of a cow pasture. Is this private property?

  3. The cemetery is located on the north side of Freeman Road in Kingsport, TN. If you're familiar with the Warrior's Path Mountain Bike Trails - it's the road that leads to the parking area for the trails. Here's a map that shows the general vicinity. Yes, it's private land, so you'd want to get permission before venturing into the pasture. http://maps.google.com/maps?q=kingsport+tn&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-a&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Kingsport,+Sullivan,+Tennessee&gl=us&ei=olS1S8zMEcP_lgelremSAQ&ved=0CA8Q8gEwAA&ll=36.497399,-82.459736&spn=0.00326,0.008068&t=h&z=18

  4. Has anyone volunteered to 1. repair and try to replace the headstones, 2. record all the headstones and their location, 3. Ask permission to do either one of these? I am from Kingsport, but seldom get home. I might make an exception for this piece of history.

  5. I wrote the Sullivan Co Historical Society, but did not hear back from them. I don't know who owns the cemetery, and have not inquired. I'd be willing to go out and record the stones, I just don't know who would want/store the information once I get it. This is a new area for me - are these kinds of records kept in the local courthouses? I appreciate your interest in this -- I'm glad to know others feel strongly about preserving and respecting our history.

  6. Mark, there is a department at the library that stores this information I think. You may want to check there first. I think, at the very least, they would be able to point you in the right direction.

  7. If someone manages to transcribe and photograph the the headstones, you could post them to Find-A-Grave (http://www.findagrave.com/) where others can access the info online.

  8. My name is David L McCrary. I live in St Louis, MO. The cemetery you found belongs to a branch of my family. My Grandmother Mary Lou Emma Lady McCrary, b. 1882 d.1965, was born and lived outside of Fall Branch. I have numerous relatives who still live in and around the area. I did some research and found that GW Lady is related through an uncle of my grandmother's father, James D. Lady. Many of the principle family members from whom I am descended are buried in the Double Springs Missionary Baptist Church.cemetery Its history goes back to the Revolutionary War era. They are listed on the TNGen website for cemeteries. Tennessee does a very good job listing their cemeteries. There is also a group of volunteers in Kingsport who help with old cemeteries. I am continuing to work on my McCrary, Gibson, Lady and Mitchell branches and hope to visit soon and rummage through the old records at the local court houses. I started this quest in February of 2009 and am now thoroughly 'hooked'.

    David McCrary


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