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Transport Cemetery Early History -
The map below depicts ownership of the land and the original owners. The information was taken from the Bureau of Land Management “BLM”, on line Patent records. Much of the land around Transport in 1862 had not left public domain and had no settlers or homesteaders on it. The dates under the names indicates date of Patent issue. It is interesting to see how many of the landowners shown on the map and their families were buried at Transport.
If you are interested in viewing the original Patent to any of the land owners you can download a copy from the BLM website. <--- click here to search BLM Records
Click anywhere on the map below to pull up a larger, zoomable scale in Acrobat Reader format.
The first known burials at Transport Cemetery were in 1862; 1st a 7 year old girl Florence Pepper, daughter of Jesse & Elizabeth Pepper born March of 1855 in Arkansas and died in Winn Parish, LA in March of 1862: 2nd a 5 month old infant girl, Lavina Pepper, daughter of James Benjamin & Jane Rachel Kennon Pepper, born in April of 1862, died in September of 1862 in Winn Parish, LA; and 3rd William L. Greer, Jr., the 16 month old son of William L Greer & Susan Greer, born June 7, 1861, died October 2, 1862 in Winn Parish, LA.
Above is a map of the original land owners of the land which Transport Cemetery occupies and the surrounding area. Looking at this map we can use it as a tool to corroborate some of the historical information that has been passed down through the generations.
The folklore surrounding the cemetery’s history is that it initially was a children’s cemetery; however it could be a coincidence that the first burials were children. There are many unmarked graves and stone marked graves with no engravings to show names and dates, so there is a possibility of earlier burials or additional early burials.
An article in a serial column, published in the Winn Parish, Enterprise Newspaper by H. P. Bozeman “Winn Parish As I Have Known It”, Article #549 in 1968 was a response to a Letter Mr. Bozeman received asking “How did Transport Cemetery --- get it’s name?” The article credits the naming of the cemetery to Benjamin Lucas Stovall. The article has several discrepancies – It states the first burials were Nancy Phillips Caldwell, wife of David Caldwell, who died August 23, 1864 and Benjamin Lucas Stovall, Jr. 9 month old infant son of Benjamin Lucas Stovall and Elizabeth Warren Stovall, who died January 15, 1864. (Click on underlined title to view entire article)
Based on the article, local folklore, and record evidence this is the Early History of Transport Cemetery:
Sometime between 1860 and 1862, several neighboring property owners and community leaders saw the need for a cemetery with a closer “local’ that would be more convenient for the burial of their loved ones. Among these community leaders and property owners were Benjamin Lucas Stovall, David Caldwell, William L Greer, William G. Greer, James M. Greer, Jesse Pepper, Thomas J. Anders and John Pendergrass. William L. Greer allowed the use of his land for the location of the cemetery and the first burials appear to have been on his property. If you look at the map, you will notice the location of Transport is centrally located in relation to the land of those community leader's property.
William L. Greer - Patent <-- Click here to see a copy of the Original Patent to William
John Pendergrass - Patent <-- Click here to see a copy of the Original Patent to John.
As the Cemetery grew with more burials the families of the deceased started a tradition of meeting at the cemetery once a year for a clean up day. Fallen trees were moved, limbs picked up and burned, and grass cut. The families also brought food from home for a pot-luck picnic to feed the workers and gatherers. Memorial Day and later the Saturday before Memorial Day became the designated day each year. This tradition began before 1900 and continues today. Although the Association has taken care of clean-up and maintenance of the cemetery, the gathering today is used for an annual Association meeting, followed by a Board of Directors meeting, which is then followed by the pot-luck picnic, with visiting, exchange of stories and fellowship between the “Transport Family”.
In the year 2011 Transport will celebrate it's 150th year of existence. We are in the early stages of planning a reunion of the Families with loved ones buried here to gather, celebrate and share their family histories. Please contact us to join in the planning phase of this upcoming celebration. We welcome your participation and input. Contact Gene Terrel at GeneTerrel@yahoo.com .