Original Berryville cemetery now site of Pioneer Park
By Suzanne Miner
Carroll County Pioneer Park is located on the site of the original Berryville cemetery. As the town grew, city fathers decided to create a new cemetery away from the commercial district. In 1899, citizens were faced with a choice: leave graves in place with no markers or move them to the new location. Many chose to move their loved ones to a final resting place, but others were left behind.
By 1911, the remaining graves had headstones that fell into disrepair or were simply knocked down with dirt thrown over them. Building construction often revealed pieces of headstones or coffins. How these remains were dealt with depended on the decisions of property owners. Two of these broken headstones were found near the back of First National Bankís property and turned over to the Historical Society.
The main monument in the park lists the names of people known to be buried here, without knowing specifically where they were interred. It also commemorates Civil War soldiers and several slaves. A group of graves under the basketball court are believed to be those of black teamsters.
Thirteen Union soldiers are buried in unmarked graves. The only veteranís grave that is marked is Confederate Elisha Bobo. This monument is a modern replacement. His family name is still found on Bobo Street. Several veteransí graves were relocated to Berryville Memorial Cemetery.
The only original marked grave that remains is Mrs. Eliza Blackburn Henderson Berry. Eliza was the wife of the namesake of Berryville. Some people refer to the cemetery as Founders Park because of this memorial. The raised stonework over her grave shows the importance of her role in the history of Berryville.
Through the years, this stonework has shifted and been worn by the elements. Cracks in the mortar and sinking ground causes more damage. The fence protecting the monument has also deteriorated. The historical society needs assistance in restoring and protecting this memorial for future generations.
Berryville High School welding students are committed to repairing the fence. Skilled labor to repair the stonework is urgently needed. If you can contribute money toward the project or are willing to donate labor, please contact the Carroll County Historical and Genealogical Society 403 Public Square Berryville, AR 72616 or call 870-423-6312 for more information. This is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.
When the city decided to create this park, it was overgrown and littered. Cleaning the area revealed artifacts and surprises. A favorite is the stone in the large sycamore tree. New technology might reveal more unique finds. Several local researchers are compiling details about the cemetery and will hopefully publish and share their findings. If you have genealogy information about any names on the monument, please contact the historical society to update their files.