During the search for the descendants of Buckley Walker, I discovered my distant cousins, J. Larry and Phyllis Walker. They had information on Larry's ancestor's in Kentucky and I had the connection from Moses Walker who married Isabel Irvine and moved from Halifax, Virginia to Jessamine, Kentucky. Here is the story in their own words of their......
Hunt for Moses Walker's son - James Buckley Walker
|On Oct. 23, 1998, we journeyed to
Jessamine County, Kentucky with dreams of finding the old Irvine Cemetery which contained
the remains of James Buckley Walker and Sarah Craig Lowery Walker. The cemetery was
suppose to be on Pekin Lane a short distance from Wilmore, KY near the west border of
Jessamine County. (This road is also called and listed on some maps as Poor Lane)
|We were able to locate Pekin Lane with relative ease.
It was truly a thinly paved one-lane road. I told Larry it must have been meant to be for
us to find the cemetery. At the end of Pekin Lane sat an older model car with bittersweet
vine hanging on the windows, a handmade grapevine Christmas tree on top and a handmade
grapevine cross laying on the hood. At the end of the vehicle was a table on which was
canned tomatoes, canned green beans, canned mixed vegetable, green tomatoes and tomatoes
about a fourth ripe. There was a lady who was obviously the seller and sitting on the post
of a bridge banister was also an older gentleman who appeared to just be passing the time
of day. Larry asked if the knew the location of Irvine Cemetery and they both said they
had never heard of it. The gentlemen said he was 72 years old and had lived there all of
his life and she replied something of the same type answer. You got the feeling they were
very skeptical of us and were not ready to freely give out any information. Larry
explained that he was a Walker looking for his ancestors graves and the man who we found
out later was Elbert G. Turner said there were some Walkers buried on the farm on which he
lived but he had never heard it called Irvine Cemetery. Larry asked if he cared if we
looked at the cemetery and somewhat reluctantly, he said it would be OK. He told us to go
to a certain gate to go through it and we would see a tobacco barn. He then asked if we
knew what a tobacco barn was. Larry told him we were both raised and still live on a farm
and that he had raised a lot of hogs. That seemed to help with the rapport that we were
not "city slickers". He explained that the cemetery was located in front of the
tobacco barn but that some of the stones were piled by a tree and that a tornado had
passed through there about 7 years ago and leveled several of the trees and removed the
tops of the remainder.
|So, away we went. We found the gate he had described
and could see a tobacco barn in the distance. Upon arriving closer to the barn we found an
area approximately 40 ft by 40 ft that was even worse than he had described. There was
much undergrowth, weeds and polk much taller than our heads and so thick that you could
hardly see through them. In addition, fallen trees were almost impossible to get around.
We were trying to wander around the area as best we could when Mr. Turner showed up. He
showed us the tree where the stones were stacked at an earlier time. He told us that over
10 years ago he had come home to find several people there at the graveyard attempting to
remove the stones. They told him they were going to relocate the cemetery and put all of
the stones there. He told them that they could not do that. They told him they would get a
court order and be back and he told them they would definitely need a court order to get
them. He said his daddy always told him that there had been a lot of tears shed at that
graveyard and for him to keep it. Anyway, back to our excavation. Most of the stones had
apparently been broken in two before the tornado and when the tornado felled the tree on
top of them they were broken up even more. They were also buried in the soil so that just
a fragment of the top stone was showing. We started digging and trying to put the pieces
together. We did so as best we could and took pictures. By this time Mr. Turner was warmed
up to us and was helping us dig. We found 3 small stones and one medium stone, which were
still intact, and from records we had obtained earlier, they were Walker Children.
After taking numerous pictures, we stacked the stones back up and went on our way. That night I began to check dates on my records with the dates on the tombstones and came to the conclusion that we definitely had the wrong top on J. Buckley and Sarah's. We had them reversed.
The next morning we went on to Red River Gourge and Natural Bridge State Park and spent the morning. However, I was very unhappy that I had pictures for history, which I was sure by then were not correct. SOOO--back to Pekin Lane. When we arrived, the lady, we learned was Helen Johnson, was again parked selling her goods. We found out she and Mr. Turner were partners. Anyway, we asked permission to go back to the cemetery and she said O.K. The task was not quite so difficult this time as we had made a path the day before to the tree. We were able to reconstruct the stones correctly and saw that they also fitted more correctly than the previous day and got additional pictures. We even took a cloth from the Explorer and put them on it in the sunshine to hopefully get better views. Also, on the previous day we had had the forethought to take a wire brush with us and had been able to remove a lot of soil from the lettering in order to read it better. We again put the stones back as Mr. Turner wanted them and went back to see Ms. Johnson. We asked her about the house in which they were living if she knew the age or anything about it. She said it had log floor joist and also log wall studs. Also, she remember that several years ago a large chimney fell from the end of the old house and when they were cleaning it up they found brick dating to the early 1800s. There was also a story she remembered hearing about that being on the stage coach route and that house being used for a stage coach stop.
The land where the cemetery and old house are located is owned by Wilbur Ham and George Dunn both, as we understood, of Lexington.
And so I leave you with our saga to hopefully enjoy and pictures to confirm our visit and the conditions we encountered. However, we would both do it again.