Thursday, October 13, 2011

Adams Cemetery

Started in 1859, Adams Cemetery north of Lawrence is the final resting place of at least two dozen people. The cemetery is named for Martin and Nancy Adams who deeded the land to the people of Riverside School District No. 53 in 1875. In 1967 Riverside was consolidated with Lawrence School District to form USD 497 making Adams Cemetery the only cemetery in the state, possibly the country, owned by a school district. The cemetery has been neglected for decades--the school district unable willingly or financially to provide perpetual care for it. Local volunteers have attempted to clear out the weeds, brush, trees and other things that collect in the cemetery but they can only do so much. Adding to difficulty keeping the cemetery clean is the cemetery is hard to get to. It is landlocked by private property.

I first heard about Adams Cemetery in The Complete Tombstone Census of Douglas County, Kansas, a book published by the county genealogical society in the 1980s. In the book, they listed about a dozen gravestones and hinted at about a dozen more. The cemetery was rediscovered by a Boy Scout troop who were out hiking. The cemetery was mentioned as being located about a mile north of 4th & Michigan Streets and my initial outing to try to find the cemetery was uneventful as I wasn't even looking in the correct place. When the book came out Adams was located about a half mile north of Lawrence basically in the middle of a field. Now the cemetery rests just behind a subdivision.

Stone of Robert Hughes (d. 1862)
Adams Cemetery currently only has five stones still standing. One of them belongs to a Civil War veteran who died in 1862. Hughes didn't actually die in the Civil War. He came home to Lawrence on leave and got sick. His stone is somewhat protected by an iron fence but a chunk of his tombstone has been destroyed. Hughes' stone reads "Robert L. Hughes Son of Robert & Cathrin Hughes Member of L. Regiment Kansas Vols. Died Feby 16, 1862." The other stones belong to "Bertha dau. of D. & A.V. Freeman Born Dec. 23, 1873 Died Mar. 25, 1874", "Jenette L. dau. of B. & O. Gentry Died Jan. 26, 1871 Aged 24Ys", "Thomas Gentry Died July 7, 1864 Aged 22Ys" and "Burton Son of S. & LP. Stanley Died Sept. 22, 1877 Aged 3Ys, 3ds." There are several large rocks sticking out of the ground which are more than likely marking other burials but none have names or dates on them.

I was fortunate to be able to meander around this cemetery that has been neglected possibly since its creation. Here's hoping other people also get involved to help clean up this cemetery.

So Mother Gargle is turning 60. I'm pretty sure that Gladys is around 45 which means Mother Gargle had Gladys sometime around 16. Sigh. Babies having babies. And back then MTV didn't exist so they couldn't showcase Mother Gargle on Teen Mom or 16 and Pregnant.