Cemetery receives tender loving care

Published 6:00 am Friday, February 6, 2009

When a group of young people from the Chelsea Church of God decided to clean up the old Calvary church cemetery, the project quickly grew into a community affair.

Around 20 people turned out to help with the job, said Rev. Steve Wallace.

“One of the men from K-Springs church brought a riding mower,” Wallace said.

Others brought chain saws, leaf blowers and other equipment. Together youth and adults cut trees, weeds and grass, blew and raked leaves, and re-position old, broken grave markers that had been tossed into the woods.

One of these markers was for Charles Evans, the uncle of 82–year–old Elzie Minor.

“My grandfather, J.H. (John) Minor carved the stone,” Minor said. “I watched him carve gravestones, but I didn’t see him carve that one. He carved his own, too, but it wasn’t used when he died.”

According to a cemetery census taken by members of the Shelby County Historical Society, the oldest marked grave in the old burying ground is that of Mary H. Farrell, who was born March, 1831 and died July 3, 1856.

Mary Farrell was the daughter of James S. Farrell, who donated land for the cemetery and church building, said Harold Griffin, a local history buff. The Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church was founded in 1856. Founders included James Farrell and members of the Minor, Mooney, Moore and Shaw families.

Graves in the cemetery, located across CR 74 from the church, include ancestors of many of today’s Chelsea residents.