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Submitted: 10/3/21 • Approved: 10/3/21 • Last Updated: 10/6/21 • R1393435-G0-S3
List updated: December, 2014
Legal description: NE, NE, SE, Sect.31, T6N, R7W
Earliest listed grave: January 12, 1892 / Nettie B. Durham
Last listed grave: Active
GPS Listing:610631 - 3884696
Arkansas Archeological Survey site #: 3WH0742
This cemetery is located three miles east of McRae and covers four acres. A homecoming is held every year on the second Sunday of June to honor the town's deceased and raise money to maintain the cemetery.
This cemetery was started as a family burial site when T. Alonzo Durham's first wife, Nettie B. Durham, died January 12, 1892, after giving birth to their third child, which was stillborn. Mother and child were buried in the same grave on a small knoll in the northeast corner of the family farm. In March of 1903 Alonzo and Nettie's oldest child, a daughter, died and was buried beside her mother.
The date the church was founded is uncertain. The deed to the land does not correspond with church records. The church started on an acre of land donated by W.S. Rogers, the land joining Durham's farm on the northeast corner, next to his family burial plot. In 1906 Durham and his second wife, Ida J. Durham, donated two acres of land to the church for the community cemetery. This gift included the family plot. In 1942 the trustees bought an acre of land on the south side of the existing cemetery from S.T. and Edna Cherry. Then in 1948 the Cherrys sold another acre. The Lebanon church lost attendance until it finally merged with the United Methodist Church in McRae. In November 1957 the McRae church deeded the Lebanon property to the Lebanon Cemetery Association to be used for homecomings and community gatherings only. The Association was incorporated as a nonprofit organization with a seven-member board of directors. The church building was destroyed by a storm in the spring of 1980 and never rebuilt. A pavilion was built on the spot and is used for an annual homecoming.
Cemetery Association president Ralph Cook estimated in 1999 that there were approximately 1,500 graves in the cemetery with room for approximately 1,000 more. Mr. Cook, who was killed when a train struck his vehicle at a McRae crossing December 30, 2003, helped gather many of the modern-day records, beginning by writing names on an old window shade, which he carried with him through the cemetery and rolled up as he added names. (See article at the end of the cemetery list.) Then later in 1999 he recruited schoolchildren to canvass the graveyard as a class project to build the records. The update project was coordinated by Mrs. Cathy Payne and conducted by her McRae Special School District G&T Class of 1999-2000. The cemetery had last been surveyed in 1976 by the McRae Extension Homemakers Club. All names on that list are found in the following, although some of those stones or funeral home markers seen in '76 were not found by Mrs. Payne's class. Other differences between the two lists are noted. Additional updates were made by Leroy Blair of the White County Historical Society after he visited the cemetery with his wife Ellen April 19 and April 25, 2001. Following are his directions on how to find the cemetery: "From McRae take Grand Avenue south to Lebanon Road. Turn left on Lebanon and go about two miles. The cemetery is on the right. It is clean and well cared for." Blair was chairman of the Historical Society's cemetery committee and a member of the board when he returned to the cemetery a second time on February 11, 2005. Following that visit, he updated the burial list, adding 76 names and making other adjustments.
Ralph Cook reported in April 2003 that contributions to the cemetery's long-term maintenance fund were lagging. He issued a plea for financial support, requesting that donations be mailed to Lebanon Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 74, McRae, AR 72102.
Elouise Scott, a former president of the White County Historical Society who grew up in this community, wrote the following: "Many types of gatherings were held at Lebanon Church; religious services, singings, big dinners were a few. It seems that it was always hot on such occasions. The pump stood across the drive from the church, and that drive was always ankle-deep in dust, the finest, powderiest dust ever known. The pump stood on a platform built about two steps up from the ground so that the water splattered all around. There was no way / NO WAY that one could get a drink and walk through that dust without getting dirty. Another big event each year in this community was the Cemetery Working. One day each year, usually in August, the entire community gathered to clean the cemetery. The grass was scraped, raked and hauled away. Everyone worked that day! But it was fun for there was much visiting and sharing of labor and food on that day." The 50th annual Lebanon homecoming was conducted June 13, 2004. Ms. Scott also wrote other articles about Lebanon for the Historical Society' s annual White County Heritage. She died in Georgia on November 11, 2004, and was returned here for burial. The writings of Walter Wisdom in the Heritage and in his book also contain references to Lebanon, where he lived at one time. The book, entitled "White County Wisdom / 90 years of short stories" is available for $10 postage paid from the White County Historical Society and may also be found at www.whitecounty.us under Books On Line.
(See Heritage Index, also Cheek Cemetery and Vinity Cemetery.).
Donations for upkeep of the cemetery may be sent to Lebanon Cemetery Association, P.O. Box 74, McRae, AR 72102. If you have corrections or additions to this list or have additional information on this cemetery, contact the White County Historical Society at P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.
Contributed on 10/3/21 by hawkinsdonna48
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Record #: 1393435