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Harris (Old Weir & Sixteenth Section) Cemetery
White County,

*Harris/Old Weir Cemetery
Sixteenth Section, Arkansas

List updated March 10, 2004
Legal description: NW, SE, SE, Sect.9, T6N, R8W
Earliest listed grave: 1860
Last listed grave: 1917
Arkansas Archeological Survey site #3WH0632

This cemetery is located off Highway 267 out in a field north of Sixteenth Section Church in White County. It was in poor condition when it was first listed September 13, 1962, by a member of the White County Historical Society, Mrs. W.H. Collison of Bald Knob, and Mr. and Mrs. Delbert Strayhorn of Sixteenth Section. Their report was published in the 1972 edition of the Society’s annual White County Heritage.

The cemetery appeared abandoned when a Boy Scout troop took on its restoration in the spring of 1986 as a project to achieve Eagle Scout status. The Beebe News published an article on the effort on April 10, 1986:

"Eric O’Brien’s Eagle project to restore the abandoned cemetery near 16th Section chapel, off Highway 267, was completed Saturday, March 22, 1986. There are approximately 21 graves dating back as far as 1874. The most recent grave was December 2, 1917. Mr. Franklin Strayhorn, who lives near the cemetery, said it has been about 30 years since anyone took care of the graves. Those who assisted were Robert Osborn, former scoutmaster and current scouting coordinator for White River District, Brian Osborn, Jim Osborn, Elmer White, current scoutmaster, Pat White, Tim White, Donna White, David Bryant, Ronnie Busbea, Robbie Burton, Leanna Sherwood, Wallace Crain, Willard Crain, former scoutmaster, Brian Crain, Irene Crain and Eric Crain. If there are any relatives of those buried there living in the area, it is requested that they try to take care of the cemetery and not let it become overgrown again."

This is likely a family cemetery and there are some family ties between the Lewis, Harris and Weir families. The cemetery was called "Harris Graveyard" when the last burial was made here.

When Linda Harris of Memphis visited the cemetery in 1995, she reported, "The cemetery is off of the highway [267] several hundred yards, in the center of a pasture. One must drive as far as they can toward the cemetery [off of the highway] to an orange locked cattle gate, climb the gate then walk to the grove of trees that is in the center of the pasture. This grove of trees can be seen from the highway. Some times of the year the large tombstone of Ben W. and Mary Ellen Lewis can be seen from the road."

Mrs. Harris pointed out that Mary Ellen Hastings Lewis (pictured) was the last person known to have been buried in the cemetery, on December 2, 1917. And on her death certificate, signed by her son-in-law, Dr. V.W. Weir, the place of burial is listed as "Harris Graveyard."

Leroy Blair of the White County Historical Society visited the cemetery January 30, 2001, and found it "fairly clean but showing signs of vandalism." It was fenced with barbed wire. Blair said the cemetery is about 10 miles south of Searcy and about seven-tenths of a mile south of Weir Cemetery. He noted some broken stones and other changes and found three graves marked with rocks and five marked with red bricks.

Another Society member, Mary Reynolds of North Little Rock, provided information in April 2002 indicating that Miles Burton and three of his children were buried here in February 1860 and now lie in unmarked graves. These are the earliest known burials here. Mary Reynolds was raised in Beebe and is a great-granddaughter of Miles Burton, who came to White County from Tishomingo County, Mississippi, in the 1850s. In August 1860, six months after Miles Burton’s death, Probate Court records show his widow Mahalia still had eight children in her household between the ages of 3 and 20.

If you have additional information on this cemetery, contact the White County Historical Society at P.O. Box 537, Searcy, AR 72145.

Photo by Leroy Blair


Contributed on 12/10/21 by hawkinsdonna48
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Record #: 1405491

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Submitted: 12/10/21 • Approved: 12/10/21 • Last Updated: 12/13/21 • R1405491-G0-S3

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