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Old Harlan Cemetery
Harlan, Smith County, Kansas

Lat: 40° 36' 40"N, Lon: 99° 46' 00"W, N. Harlan

Contributed by Beth Gillis, Jul 05, 2006 [rbgillis@ruraltel.net]. Total records = 11.

The cemetery is located from Harlan, Kansas go north on Q Rd through Harlan and the road curves to the east . Go about 1/4 mile and the cemetery is at the top of the hill to the north in the pasture. Permission should be gotten before going into the pasture.

On a high hill, just north of the town of Harlan, presenting an imposing view of the beautiful Solomon Valley for many miles in either direction, lies an abandoned cemetery. This plot of ground seems to have been set apart for burial purposes at an early date in Smith county, but no one now living seems to know anything about its organization, who organized it, whether or not it ever had officers or directors and if it was organized who the officers were.

The records at the courthouse are innocent of any mention of it. But there is a strip of land consisting of ten acres that, according to the records nobody owns. The most plausible explanation to that, is that in an early day someone set apart that ten acres for a cemetery, to give a deed for it when the claim was proved up on but relinquished or died before final proof was made. Final proof was made in the name of C.C. Whitmore but no one seems to remember anyone by that name.

As far as the view is concerned, the site is a very good one but whoever selected that spot overlooked one very serious defect. The whole site is under laid with solid rock, in most places very near the surface. This made the digging very difficult. The planting of trees or shrubs was useless for they could not develop enough depth of root to live. So after a few years people gradually drifted away from this cemetery and secured lots elsewhere.

It is said that Mr. Harlan, Judge Harlan, he was usually called, was the first one to be buried there but his body was moved.

Robert Gillis and I walked this cemetery in May of 2006. This includes all existing and legible headstone readings. However there are quite a number of people buried there between its first use as a cemetery and the early nineteen hundreds and a good many of the graves are marked, some with marble monuments and some with markers made of native stone. But with the exception of that of Rev. S.H. Thompson whose grave seems to be being taken care of, the stone is still standing.

On some of the stones and on some of the fragments of stones inscriptions or parts of inscriptions can still be deciphered. None of the other markers are now standing but are scattered about most of them broken. On some of the stones and on some of the fragments of stones inscriptions or parts of inscriptions can still be deciphered.

There has been little or no care of the cemetery for many years and now the whole place is grown to grass and bramble. As far as we can find out no relatives of anyone buried there still reside around here.

I visited this cemetery on Jul 01, 2006.

- Beth Gillis

?? , Emma, no dates, stone gone
??, Bertha, d. 1880, aged 2m, stone gone
Arthur, Tabitha, d. 29 Dec 1866, aged 56y, wife of George Arthur
Floeck, W.J., no dates, stone gone, last burial
Otis, C. I., d. 23 Oct 1886, aged 86y, stone gone
Otis, Lena, d. 10 Oct 1880, aged 35y, wife of Dr. Otis
Taylor, Mabel Pearl, d. 9 Jul 1895, aged 1y5m, daughter of D. & M. Taylor
Thompson, Abbie H., d. 20 Feb 1860, wife of Rev, S.H. Thompson, interred Salem Wisconsin
Thompson, Rev. S. H., d. 1 Feb 1880, aged 65y4m20d, Husband of Abbie H. Thompson
Turner, J. M., no dates, stone gone
Young, Melvin, d. 4 Jul 1889, son of E.B. & E.R. Young

 

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