Local volunteers will look to receive a special designation for Cedar Hill Cemetery based off of the history contained there.
The Princeton City Council discussed forming a Pioneer Cemetery Committee during their meeting earlier this week. Caroline Traum spoke to the council about the designation and significance of the cemetery.
“There is a section of the cemetery which has very old graves in it,” Traum said. “The state has a program that you can get a section of a city cemetery designated as a pioneer cemetery if 10 percent of the graves in that section are before 1850.”
Traum said volunteers have surveyed about 380 graves, with 50 of those dating back before 1850.
A tragedy in Caldwell County nearly two centuries ago may benefit historians looking to piece together the community’s past.
“There was a cholera epidemic in Princeton in 1834,” Traum said. “It took over 30 people within a two month period. It did not end at that. Many of those people, I have found their graves. We know there are another 20 to be found.”
The Kentucky Historical Society’s Pioneer Cemetery Program was established in order for families and communities to document, preserve, restore and maintain their graves which mark the resting place of the pioneers of the community in which they lived.
Designation of a cemetery as a “Pioneer Cemetery” will help bring recognition to the cemetery as well as recognition to the descendants who have attempted to restore dignity and respect that was given to family and community members.
To be a part of the program, cemeteries must:
• Be have established and receiving burials by 1842.
• The boundaries of the cemetery must be able to be documented.
• The graves of individuals must have been living in Kentucky prior to 1800.
• The cemetery has been cared for and cleaned of debris
• The cemetery is registered with the Kentucky Historical Society’s Cemetery Preservation Program.
Traum said registration will bring some benefits to the community.
“Once it’s on that list, then it’s another tourist [attraction],” Traum said. “Believe it or not, there are people who come to look at grave stones.”
Once visitors are here, it will be up to local groups to introduce tourists to Princeton’s local history.
“It’s really the stories of the town,” Traum said. “We really have a wonderful cemetery.”
Mayor Danny Beavers appointed Traum to the committee along with Rick Morgan, Jenna Wainer, Brian Wainer and Jimmy Clark.
Beavers said they would be able to add committee members as needed.