Sunday, July 10, 2016

Gray Cemetery (AKA Felts Cemetery) at Bonetown

Gray Cemetery is a smallish cemetery that sits right along County Road 72 between Bonetown and Sage. There are some very interesting people lying at rest here as well as some fascinating homemade gravestones.

The most interesting gravestones are those of the Meers siblings Cary and William Preston Jr., Children of William Preston and Sarah Meers of Cherokee County, Georgia. These stones were lovingly crafted by an amateur stone mason and are really something special.  William Senior was a veteran of the CSA having served as First Sargent in the infantry for Company C, Cherokee Legion. There are records of him having spent time at the military hospital at Jonesboro, Ga. in 1864 with "chronic hepatitis", Williams wife, Sarah A.Jarret Meers, is documented as having set up a homestead in Franklin Township in Izard County some time after her husband died after the conclusion of the War Between the States. In 1876,  Mrs. Meers is known to have purchased the R.F. Jones homestead of 160 acres for $185 and finished out the claim. I could find no record of where Sarah or William Senior is buried.

Also buried here is Robert Gray who was originally from Wilkes County, North Carolina and moved to Izard County with his family in 1859. He was a Civil War veteran who lost a leg and a finger during the conflict and returned to Izard County to become a teacher and continue to farm his land. Following is an excerpt from a Goodspeed biography of Mr. Gray:

"Mr. Gray, like his father, has always been engaged in farming, and owns about
700 acres of good land, of which 250 acres are under cultivation. He has been a
member of the I. O. O. F. for the past nine years, and has held a number of
offices in the county, such as assessor, and while residing in Sharp County held
the office of county treasurer for two years. In 1862 he enlisted in the
Confederate army under McBride, and was severely wounded at the fight at
Mansfield, losing his left leg and one finger on his left hand. He also received
a shot in the left side, and received his discharge in 1865. He followed the
occupation of school teaching for some time after returning home, but, as stated
above, has given the most of his attention to farming, at which he has been
remarkably successful. He and wife worship in the Baptist Church."

A decorated veteran of World War II also lies here, Thomas Wesley Miller, who served with distinction as a Techinician Grade 4 being awarded two bronze stars. Mr. Miller also served as Director of the Arkansas Veterans Affairs for more than ten years and was responsible for having played a major part in setting up the Veterans Home in Little Rock.

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