The Bullitt County History Museum

Simmons/Henderson Cemetery

This page contains a research report from the Bullitt County Genealogical Society Cemetery Committee concerning this cemetery and what has become of it.

Simmons/Henderson Cemetery - Location: On Buffalo Run Road, Shepherdsville, KY (N 37 58.2667 W 85 41.2167); Elevation: 446 feet; Date Visited: 9/27/2007; Available Pictures= 33 [Cem #217]

Original Location: Off Buffalo Run Road on property owned by Gary McGruder in 2008, DBA Rolling Acres Farms

Latitude 37° 58.2667 Longitude 85° 41.2167 (446 feet above sea level)

Directions to Original Location: From Shepherdsville take highway 61 (Preston Highway) south to highway 480 (Cedar Grove Road). Turn left (east) onto it and continue under I-65 to Buffalo Run Road. Turn right (South) onto Buffalo Run Road. The cemetery was about a mile down it on the left, at the top of a knob and under a big maple tree. (See photo above)

History:

William Simmons first appeared in the Bullitt County records on 28 Nov 1797, in the first year of the counties history, when he registered his livestock's ear marks. During the May Court of 1799, he and others were ordered to view and lay out a new road in the county. He became a deputy county patrol under Captain Rawleigh Chinn for south of the Salt River. He was mentioned often as a Justice of the Peace in the Monthly Court records and in the deed books. William was Sheriff of Bullitt County in 1807 - 1809 and again in 1811.

William was a slave owner as shown in the census and after his death some of his slaves were hired out to support his minor child. (1810 census; 1820 census; Bullitt County, Kentucky Guardian Records, 1823-1903, p 5)

William owned the 493 acre farm where the Simmons-Henderson Cemetery was located. He gave bond and consent for his daughter's marriage on 13 Aug 1814. Some years after he and his wife both died, the farm was sold to Francis Buckman and later became the home of David and Sara Jane (Buckman) Henderson.

Old research showed that William and Elizabeth had no issue but this was found to be in error. The 1810 census shows a female age 10 - 16 (Celia) in their household. And the 1820 census shows that they had a son (William Jr.) born between 1810 and 1820.

William wrote his will on 29 Aug 1822 and it was probated on 3 Nov 1823. Both he and his wife had died of Typhoid Fever leaving Celia and William Jr. as their heirs. Celia was married to Joseph Atwell and William Jr. would have been a minor at that time. Richard P. Simmons was assigned as guardian of William along with commissioners Thomas Q. Willson (sic), Thomas W. Riley and Jonathan Gore Jr. (Bullitt County Will book A 1799 - 1824, Bullitt County, Kentucky Guardian Records, 1823-1903, p 1 & 2)

Sedwick Simmons was paid in 1836 for erecting the stone wall around William's and Elizabeth's graves.

The administration of William's and Elizabeth's estate was turned over to Joseph Atwell on 5 Oct 1840. (Bullitt County, Kentucky Guardian Records, 1823-1903, p 7)

The farm and the cemetery passed from the hands of the descendants of William and Elizabeth in 1850 when James Buckman bought it for his brother, Francis and Francis' children. (See Francis Buckman for reference to this deed.)

Francis Buckman had come to Kentucky from Maryland with his father Joseph and grew up in Springfield, Washington County, Kentucky. The Buckmans and many other Catholic families were part of the mass migration from Maryland when that Colony attempted to impose the Anglican Religion on its population.

Miss Sallie Pope stated that Francis was a drinker and his father entrusted Francis' inheritance to his (half) brother, James. James used this money to purchase the farm of William and Elizabeth Simmons in Bullitt County, Kentucky for Francis from Joseph Atwell.

Francis was buried in the old William Simmons Cemetery, now known as the Simmons-Henderson Cemetery, on the land that later passed to David and Sara Jane (Buckman) Henderson. His grave was marked by an unmarked stone and is now (2007) buried in the roots of a large maple tree. This stone was visible in 2007 when the cemetery committee surveyed the cemetery.

This cemetery was relocated to two separate cemeteries on September 19, 2008 according to State Office of Vital Statistics. What follows is a history of this process.

  • June 20, 2007 - The first notice of intent to relocate this cemetery appears in The Pioneer News. In this notice there was no information given about individuals buried in the cemetery. (Fiscal Court Order Book 38:293)
  • August 7, 2007 - Gary McGruder representing Rolling Acres Farm petitioned to remove and relocate abandoned graves from his property. He proposed to move the graves next to a water tower on a hill in the back part of his property. County Attorney Walter Sholar advised Mr. McGruder that his notice in the newspaper was not adequate and that he needed to follow the law from the beginning in this matter. (Fiscal Court Order Book 38:293)
  • August 21, 2007 - Attorney, Walter Sholar, reports to Fiscal Court that he has advised Gary McGruder of the laws pertaining to cemetery relocation and that he was now following proper procedures and that 60 days needed to pass before Fiscal Court could give permission for cemetery to be relocated.(Fiscal Court Order Book 38:301)
  • August 29, 2007 - 2nd notice of intent to relocate cemetery appears in The Pioneer News. This notice contains the names of only four of the 7 known burials in this cemetery. Also, the ad does not contain the location where the graves would be relocated to. (Commonwealth of Kentucky County of Bullitt Resolution No. 07-36)
  • September 3, 2007 - 3rd notice of intent to relocate cemetery appears in The Pioneer News. This notice contains the names of only four of the 7 known burials in this cemetery. Also, the ad does not contain the location where the graves would be relocated to. This notice was the same as that of August 29th. (Commonwealth of Kentucky County of Bullitt Resolution No. 07-36)
  • October 3, 2007 - The Bullitt County Genealogical Society Cemetery Committee conducted a survey of this cemetery and their findings are included in this report.
  • November 5, 2007 - Fiscal Court said all requirements had been met and approved the resolution for the removal and relocation of abandoned cemetery. At that time Gary McGruder stated that two graves would be relocated to the Maraman Family Cemetery and the rest to another location on his farm. He also stated that Rattermans Funeral Home would be in charge of removing and relocating graves. (Fiscal Court Order Book 38:330)
  • Spring 2008 - Bob Cline and Lynn Eddington met with Ray McGruder at his request. He wanted to know the proper methods for relocating a cemetery. We showed him our file on the cemetery including the plat attached. Francis Buckman's stone in the tree roots was pointed out. He asked us about methods to determine if there were other burials there, other than the stones that we pointed out to him. We discussed the ground scraping method and ground penetrating radar usage. When we were ready to leave, he said that he had better get a mower out there and clean up the area to better see what was there. Committee members have been driving by the cemetery from time to time all summer hoping to see the cemetery cleaned up so that they could get disabled family members to it to say one last good-by to their ancestors.
  • September 19, 2008 - According to a document provided to the Bullitt County Genealogical Society Cemetery Committee by Maraman-Billings Funeral Home the following graves were moved to the following locations: (The following list is quoted directly from their document, including errors. Corrections are as follows: Amanda Lutz Henderson Born: 1825 Died: 1905, David Henderson Born: 1819)
    • Amanda Lutz Henderson - DOB: unknown; DOD: unknown; relocated to Cedar Grove Cemetery
    • Mary L Henderson-Smither - DOB: 02/28/1858; DOD: 03/27/1885; relocated to Cedar Grove Cemetery
    • William Simmons - DOB: 1765; DOD: 10/09/1823; relocated to Cedar Grove Cemetery
    • Elizabeth Simmons - DOB: 1776; DOD: 10/20/1823; relocated to Cedar Grove Cemetery
    • David Henderson - DOB: 03/09/1891; DOD: 09/08/1895; relocated to Maraman Family Cemetery
    • Sarah Henderson - DOB: 03/11/1825; DOD: 03/23/1867; relocated to Maraman Family Cemetery

Notes to the above timeline:

  1. Maraman-Billings indicated that they moved the graves on Friday, September 19, 2008. A member of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society Cemetery Committee visited the cemetery on Sunday, September 21, 2008 and indicated that he felt that the graves had not yet been moved. He went back on Monday, September 22, 2008 at that time the graves had been dug into and he then took several pictures for documentation. Those pictures are on file at the Bullitt County History Museum.
  2. Sometime in the year between the time Gary McGruder had received approval to move the graves and the time graves were actually moved, the funeral home being used apparently changed from Rattermans to Maraman-Billings.
  3. We know that one grave, that of Frances Buckman, was not moved and there may be more unmarked graves that were not moved. (See Plat Attached)
  4. Four graves were moved to the Cedar Grove Cemetery rather than being moved to the new location on Gary McGruder farm. This change was probably made because the law requires graves to be moved to existing cemeteries.
  5. The Cedar Grove Methodist Church Cemetery is located at 5005 Cedar Grove Road; for more information on this cemetery please check folder 29 in the cemetery files located in the Bullitt County History Museum in Shepherdsville, Kentucky
  6. The Maraman Family Cemetery is located at 1794 South Preston Highway (Highway 61 south), Shepherdsville, Kentucky; for more information on this cemetery please check folder 137 in the cemetery files located in the Bullitt County History Museum in Shepherdsville, Kentucky

The following is a letter written to the editor of The Pioneer News but has not been published at this time. (October 2008)

Mr. Tom Barr,

Our family would like for you to consider publishing this as a letter to the Editor in an issue of the paper. We are direct descendants of Francis Buckman and feel the loss of our ancestor. We may be contacted through Sarah Ashbaugh at [number withheld].

Thank You

Linda Crigler Hobbs, Norma Crigler Thompson, Sarah Crigler Ashbaugh and Valerie Ashbaugh Walls


A travesty happened on 22 September this year; Bullitt County lost one of its many old family cemeteries. There have been over 200 located and recorded by family researchers and this effort is on going with many more to be found. The Simmons-Henderson Cemetery sat on a beautiful knob that once overlooked the 490-acre home place of the William Simmons Family. William and Elizabeth both died of typhoid in October of 1823. William had been the sheriff of Bullitt County in 1806. This land and the cemetery then passed to Francis Buckman and his family. Francis was the grandfather of our ‘Jiggs’ Buckman for whom the main street through Shepherdsville is named. It then became the home of David Henderson when Francis’ daughter Sarah Jane acquired it from all of her siblings. The land has since passed into a land holding company that is developing it into a commercial site.

This travesty came from the way that old family cemeteries can be declared abandoned and your ancestors can be uprooted from their chosen final resting place to become part of progress. Kentucky State Laws protect our cemeteries but this law has a loophole. The loophole allows a developer to have a cemetery declared abandoned if he is able to prove that the cemetery has not been visited or cared for in ten years. By law, once a tract of land has a single burial made on it, that location becomes a cemetery and is no longer part of the tract of land. When the land is sold around the cemetery, it is not considered a part of the sale. The owner and future owners must grant access to these cemeteries to the descendants of those buried there. Last fall, the case was presented to the County Court and they agreed to allow the move of this cemetery. Only one of the descendants of the families came forward at the hearing and he could not garner enough support or proof of family visits or care of the cemetery to prevent its removal.

We learned of the request to declare this cemetery as abandoned when our family researcher went to it and made a survey of everything that could be found above ground. The site was recorded with the GPS location, photos and a plat of the area that could contain burials. He started to research the families and existing records for burial information and found that the Buckman and Henderson families were our direct ancestors. By this time, we were too late to present this information to the court prior to their decision.

When the cemetery was moved, none of this research was consulted and at least one known grave was not moved. This was the grave of Francis Buckman, whose grave was marked by a simple fieldstone located in the roots of a large oak tree. There were reports and indications that as high as 50 graves were once there. Only six graves were moved. The mortician, who provides the only oversight regulations to this process, was consulted about the method used to determine what was moved. His comment was that he had those that he knew about moved.

Kentucky’s law on cemeteries is both protective and will allow for progress but the law does not include regulation procedures nor oversight of such moves. Our county court could prevent future oversights such as has occurred here by requiring that the history of the cemetery and the history of the known interments be researched before deciding to allow the move of a cemetery and then with this knowledge in hand provide an impartial supervisor of the move.

Progress and historical preservation do not have to be at odds with each other. Three prime examples of the cooperative efforts may be seen in our new courthouse, the beautiful work done to the Pope Cemetery located behind the new building on Cedar Grove Road and the Simmons Cemetery behind Beacon Credit Union on Cedar Grove Road.

This article is meant as a wakeup call to Bullitt County families to remember your ancestors, honor them by learning about them, and care for their final resting places. Our family, as with the average family, did not know their ancestors past three generations earlier. Many family researchers are available to help you research your family. Of the 200 cemeteries mentioned, some one third are very hard to access, overgrown, or need much care. All of these cemeteries are subject to be lost if we do not care for them. There are great people able to help you prevent the loss of your history. These researchers may be contacted through The Bullitt County Genealogical Society at P. O. Box 960, Shepherdsville, Kentucky, 40165-0960.

Topo Map with X showing the Original Location of Cemetery

Topo Map Showing Cemetery Location

Plat of Simmons-Henderson Cemetery

Plat of Simmons-Henderson Cemetery

A much larger image of this plat is viewable here.
You must use your BACK button to return to this page.

Note: We believe that there may be slave burials beyond the old farm fence marked on the plat.

Below is an image insert from Google showing the location of this Bullitt County cemetery. You can use the arrows in the upper left corner to move the image, or use the plus and minus signs to zoom in or out. You may also put the cursor on the map and drag the image to where you want it. Click on the marker to get cemetery details.

Burials:

Note: The following listing of burials was compiled from the following readings:
  • April 3, 1958 - By Sally B. Pope
  • About 1994 - John Maraman
  • October 3, 2007 - Bullitt County Genealogical Society Cemetery Committee
  • September 22, 2008 - Bob Cline
W. M. Simmons

W.M. Simmons
Departed this life
October 9, 1823
Aged 58 years

Elizabeth Simmons

Elizabeth Simmons
Wife of W. H. Simmons
Departed this life
October 20, 1823
Aged 47 years

Footstone: E.S.

Note: The above two are typhoid fever victims.

Frances Buckman

Frances Buckman
Note: Rough stone that is partially grown into a tree that grew up through the grave.
No markings on the stone.

Sara Jane Henderson

Sara Jane wife of David Henderson
Died: March 23, 1867
Inscription: Aged 41 years 11 months 12 days
Note: Daughter of Francis Buckman

David Henderson
Born: March 9, 1819
Died: September 8, 1895
Note: Aged 80 years
Inscription: A faithful husband and father dear in sweet repose is sleeping here
his painful loss we deeply feel but God shall all our sorrows heal

Amanda Lutes Amanda Lutes Henderson

Amanda Lutes Henderson
Wife of David Henderson
Born: 1825
Died: 1905

Mary Henderson 1 Mary Henderson 2

Mary L "Levena" Henderson
Born: February 28, 1858
Died: March 27, 1885
Inscription: Wife of B.H. Smither (Ben)
Note: Daughter of David and Sara Henderson, Mary died during child birth, 27 years of age
Footstone: M.L.H.

There were several field stones.

Field Stones

The cemetery committee visited the cemetery on October 3, 2007. The area was surveyed with divining rods and there were indications of 4 rows of graves extending north to south for a least 70 to 80 feet in both directions from the "Sarah Jane" stone. There were indications both by divining rod readings and by sunken areas that these graves existed.

The report and all the information was compiled by the Bullitt County Genealogical Society Cemetery Committee. Members include: Daniel Buxton, Chairman, Robert Cline, Lynn Eddington, Barbara Bailey, Ken Bailey, Jimmy Cash, Advisors Betty Darnell and David Strange. November 1, 2008

The Bullitt County History Museum, a service of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is located in the county courthouse at 300 South Buckman Street (Highway 61) in Shepherdsville, Kentucky. The museum, along with its research room, is open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday. Admission is free. The museum, as part of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society, is a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization and is classified as a 509(a)2 public charity. Contributions and bequests are deductible under section 2055, 2106, or 2522 of the Internal Revenue Code. Page last modified: 13 Jul 2015 . Page URL: bullittcountyhistory.org/cem/simmons_henderson_cem.html