Time travel as close as your local cemetery.

Sunday’s Cemetery 13

May 17, 2015 / by davidwalton


This week’s cemetery – Martin Community Cemetery – is one of about 30 cemeteries in the Martin, KY area.

Cemeteries. Every city has one. They are mysterious, historic, haunting and, to me, fascinating. I developed a fondness for cemeteries as a boy.

Now whenever I’m out of town, I always make it a point to visit a cemetery. To me, they are better than any mountain range, skyline or other popular tourist attraction. They are hidden treasures containing a wealth of information about communities and the people who lived there.

Chances are you have visited a cemetery at some time in your life to pay your respects to a family member or friend, and perhaps you too appreciate the stories represented among the tombstones and monuments.

My travels take me to all over the South and Midwest, so I have decided to start documenting my cemetery visits with a series of photos in a new Sunday feature.

This week’s cemetery is Martin Community Cemetery in Martin, KY, situated next to the Martin Freewill

World War II Army PFC Harold Ousley is one of several veterans buried in the community cemetery.

World War II Army PFC Harold Ousley is one of several veterans buried in the community cemetery.

Baptist Church.  The early coal mining town (pop. 633) was originally known as Bucks Branch but later would be named Martin for local Postmaster Martin Van Allen.

An baby's headstone is identified only with a last name and date of death.

A baby’s headstone is identified only by a last name and date of death.

The cemetery is right around the corner from the Martin Post Office, high upon a hill as most cemeteries are in Eastern Kentucky. Just climbing to the top (yes, it’s very steep) will take away your breath if you are not in decent shape.


Some areas in the Martin Community Cemetery are sectioned off by fencing likely to deter would-be vandals.

Cemeteries in Eastern Kentucky will leave you breathless because of how high up they are positioned on hills, or as some might call cliffs! It must be a feat for funeral homes manager to get the casket to the top. Surely they don’t make the pallbearers carry them but instead use some kind of hoist. And think about the challenges during the winter season.

Have you ever visited or witnessed a burial at one of these hillside cemeteries in Eastern Kentucky. If so, I’d like to hear all about it. I’m sure my readers would too.

I hope to visit more cemeteries like this one in Floyd County, KY in the near future. Next time, I’ll be more prepared and remember to bring along my hiking boots!

Until next time….

2 thoughts on “Sunday’s Cemetery 13

  1. RayJ says:

    Yes. I was a pallbearer for my ex-father-in-law who was buried in Mingo County WV very near Pike County KY. It was very hot and the casket was very heavy. His burial plot was up a large hill. Pallbearers were changed out along the way–except me! I thought I would drop my part (which would have toppled him) or kill-over myself. Thankfully, neither happened. I was glad to get him up to the grave. But, they do carry them up those hills–at least in my experience.

  2. davidwalton says:

    Thanks Ray for confirming actual people are used as pallbearers rather than horses or some sort of mechanical contraption. Being that you were former military and in good physical shape, they likely viewed you as the main support. The important thing is you made it! Great story. Thanks for sharing.

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