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Oldham Family Cemetery

 
This cemetery was another one in a series of works transcribed by Alan Murray, who has his own website at Jefferson County, Kentucky Cemeteries.  Please email your coordinator if you have more details concerning this graveyard.

From north of Louisville, KY take I-65 south. Exit at Crittenden Drive, go about a block to the first traffic signal and make a left turn. (This is gate 4 to the Kentucky Fair and Exposition Center). This gate leads you to ring road, (one way traffic) about 1/2 a mile down ring road you can see Oldham Cemetery on the left side in the mist of a clump of trees. This clump of trees is in a parking lot next to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom.

??, Henrietta, who departed this life Sep 12th 1830, Aged 4 Weeks, (Infant child of John & Eliza Jane Tho) - Stone broken, last name probably Thomas.

??, James G., who departed this life Jul 0th 1835, Aged 9 Months and 15 Days, (Infant Child of John & Eliza Jane Tho) - Stone broken, last name probably Thomas.

Herr, Frederick, b. Feb 9th 1800, d. Dec 24th 1848

Herr, Sammie L., b. Mar 25 1865, d. Aug 20 1871, Dau of S. L. & B. A. Herr

Herr, Sammuel L., b. Apr 14 1845, d. Jan 30 1865

Mercer, Carver Jr., b. Sept 14 1830, d. Oct 5 1850

Mercer, Carver Sr., b. Nov 27 1775, d. Mar 26 1834

Oldham, Conway, d. Nov 23 1825, Age 43yr (*)

Oldham, Oldham, d. Apr 27 1822, Age 66yr (*)

Oldham, Patsy, b. 1785, d. Dec 26 1849 (*)

Oldham, Samuel L., b. Sep 4th 1807, d. Sep 5th 1837, (This stone is dedicated by his relic Catharine Jane Oldham)

Oldham, Samuel, d. Jan 31 1825, Age 73yr (*)

Oldham, William, d. 15th Mar 1826, Aged 42yr (Broken Stone)

Powers, Mary K., b. 1795, d. Nov 25 1848 (*)

Powers, Nevill E., d. Oct 24th 1817, Aged 1 Year 3 Months and 2 Days, son of Walter E. and Mary Powers, (Who's tomb is this? It says 'tis Nevill's tomb. Pluck'd from the world in beauty's fairest bloom no more this lovely babe is seen to please it's parents eyes this tender plant so pure and sweet is in eternity.)

 Powers, Walter Jun., b. Dec 19, 1818, and was dep___ here the 2___day, Brother to Nevill E. Powers, (note the ___ indicate where there is actually a hole carved into the stone)

Taylor, Bettie Clarkson, b. Feb 25 1847, d. Nov 10 1872

Taylor, Nancy, d. May 4 1826, Age 46yr (*)
Thomas, John, b. Oct 4 1799, d. May 1849 (*)
(*) Denotes that stone was previously recorded in other documents but is no longer at the site
 
Solemn site still sitting amid thrill of midway:  Family cemetery dates to 1800s

By Byron Crawford
bcrawford@courier-journal.com
The Courier-Journal

The small cemetery on the Kentucky State Fair midway is all but lost in the shadows of its raucous surroundings.

Screams from the towering red "Hellavator" ride and other nearby attractions mingle at dusk with the flicker of neon lights across graves dating to the early 1800s.

The Samuel Oldham Burial Ground must be among the most oddly situated graveyards in the state.

Fate's poetic symbolism in a giant sliding board that bottoms out a few feet from the graveyard's gate is lost on the line of wide-eyed youngsters and giggling adults who wait to climb the steps to careen down the long slide for a few thrilling seconds.

Many who notice the historic cemetery rarely take time to read the inscription on the front of the marker nearest the entrance of its shaded quarter-acre enclosure:

"Oldham Family Cemetery -- Samuel Oldham, 31 Oct. 1749 -- 31 Jan. 1823."

His wife, Ann Lipscomb Oldham, is also named on the marker, along with a passage from Samuel Oldham's will: "I further give and bequeath forever a space not exceeding two acres of land whereon I now reside so as to include the present burying ground, a place of inturment (sic) not only for the white part of my family, but also for the black."

The back of the marker contains the names of many of those buried in the cemetery, as many as 22 by some accounts. In addition to the Oldhams, they include relations by the names Herr, Mercer, Powers, Taylor and Thomas, many of whom helped settle the Louisville area.

Oldham County was named for Samuel Oldham's brother, Col. William Oldham.

Historians say that Samuel Oldham's plantation once encompassed what now is the land occupied by the fairgrounds, Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom and perhaps several surrounding properties.

The cemetery was fenced in 1981 when work began on a permanent midway at the fairgrounds. Vandals and time have damaged several of the stones, but the family has had several repaired and one new marker erected.

Confusion over deed restrictions and complaints from relatives of those buried in the cemetery prevented the graves from being relocated in 1995.

"It is the principle of the thing," said Dona O. Page of Deer Park, Texas, Samuel Oldham's great-great-great-granddaughter. "The man's will plainly stated…that that (land) was to be preserved for his family… 'forever.' Now to me, 'forever' means forever. It doesn't mean until somebody wants to park more RVs."

Page guessed that her ancestors would be perfectly comfortable in the middle of the state fair midway.

"They were always in the middle of everything," she said.

Harold Workman, president and CEO of the Kentucky State Fair Board, said this week: "We have a great deal of respect for this cemetery and the families that it represents. We make sure that the grounds are maintained, kept safe from intruders, and that it is a place where the family members can visit."

Keith Cupp of Lexington, publisher of the American Saddlebred magazine Bluegrass Horseman, stopped by the cemetery this week while covering horse shows.

"It's sacred land," Cupp said. "I think people should be encouraged to stop here and pay their respects when they're at the fair."

Byron Crawford's column appears on the Metro page Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can reach him at (502) 582-4791 or e-mail him at bcrawford@courier-journal.com. You can also read his columns at www.courier-journal.com. - printed in the Wednesday, August 23, 2006 edition of the newspaper.

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