January 26, 2019

Files Cemetery, Hot Springs AR

As usual, while I was in Hot Springs over Christmas, I did some exploring.   This is the first of two cemeteries I visited.  It was not even 2 miles from my mother-in-law's house.   I really thought GPS was confused when it sent me back into a residential area, about maybe 1/4 mile off Central Ave.  There was no real place to park, since it is located on the inside bend of a fairly sharp turn in the road.  
 So what I really need to start doing is research these cemeteries before I go to visit, since this one is extremely interesting and touching.

In a nutshell, most of this cemetery belongs to a fantastic lady named Ruth Coker Burks.  Mrs. Burks' mother got into "an epic row" with her brother and then bought ALL 262 of the empty plots in this cemetery so he & his family could not be buried there with the rest of the family. 

Since the mid 80's, Mrs. Burks has personally buried over 43 people here in chipped pottery cookie jars who had passed on from AIDS, whose families didn't want anything to do with them.  She managed to find a funeral home in Pine Bluff that would do cremations, but no religious people would do services over them - so she did.

You can read more about Mrs. Burks' story HERE.
Completely amazing.
 So I took all these pictures without knowing there are a lot of unmarked graves.
It also explains some of the ones that were marked.
As we came in the gate, we were looking at the backs of all the stones. 

 There were several random socks in one area.... weird!

There was another stone near this one that I didn't take a picture of because it was very new.  It had beautiful etchings of the deceased.  I try not to photograph new stones, out of respect for the remaining families.   The older stones that I do take pictures of,  I feel I'm helping keep someone's memory alive.



GW Kissellburg was in a very overgrown area right along the fenceline.
FYI - there are a LOT of overgrown rosebushes here!

Nathan Baldwin
SGT, US Air Force Res
World War II
March 17, 1922 - January 30, 1968

 Spawn and I found this small stone particularly touching since it was kind of off by itself.
Infant of
Hilbert &
Born & Died
July 27, 1918
According to FindAGrave, dad Hilbert and mom Willie Octavia and 2 brothers who both lived to old age are all buried in California.

This stone toward the back corner caught Spawn's attention as soon as we walked thru the gate and she made a beeline towards it.   A quick Google search only says they all died at home and that Michael was preceded in death by his wife & daughter.
Interesting to note that on their listing for FindAGrave, someone left virtual flowers for Sheena & Allissa, but not Michael. 
Hmmm.  <<insert your own assumption here>>

There were a lot of small toys scattered around the plot and we found a stray toy quite a distance away.  We knew exactly where it had come from, but instead we placed it near Infant Geurin's stone.


 This stone makes more sense after reading the article from the Arkansas Times.



On the backside of Miss Emma's above...
As a wife, devoted
 As a mother,
As a friend, ever
kind and true
In life she exhibited
all the graces
of a Christian;
In death her redeemed
spirit returned
to God,
Who gave it.
This was an interesting shape.

The next 4 were all in a row along the fence directly to the left of the gate as we came in.
 They're hard to read, but this one died in 1897
Died in 1893 
 I wonder what the story is behind the balls.

Hope you enjoyed coming along on this trip!
I'll surely be going back to visit the next time I'm in Hot Springs.

 photo http---signatures.mylivesignature.com-54494-164-6E1F2937D85F5FD3EB8A14DC4819E6EF_zpsg5damrgy.png


  1. Sheena, Ally, and Michael Rotenberry died when their house caught on fire in the middle of the night. They are all buried together in the same casket. They were amazing people!

    1. Thanks for the info! I did a quick search when I was writing this post and nothing I found had any actual details. All unexpected passings are sad, but whole families are worse!


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