December 7, 2013

Old Cemeteries near Sicily Island

Until recent years, I was unaware of the Old Salem Cemetery, the Peniston Cemetery or the Peck Cemetery.

A search for documentation on the people buried in these cemeteries has been unsuccessful. If anyone has information on these cemeteries, please leave a comment or email me at


  1. Hi, one would presume that the Peniston Cemetery contains members of the family of Dr.Thomas Jefferson Peniston, (1806-1872), and his wife Sopia Dorcus (Lovelace) Peniston, (1816-1872), [burial locations for both unknown].. But the question is which ones. They had five known children: Sophia, (1839-1911), who married Sylvester York, (ca.1835-1884), [not certain if
    any record exists of burial location]; Charles W Peniston, (ca.1842-1864), who married Lydia Reeves, (1842-1863), [location
    of burials unknown]; John Peniston, (1846-1868), [buried in the Old Pine Hill Cem.]; Horace Marshall Peniston, (1848=1897),
    [buried ?], who married Anna Doniphan, (1863-1960), [Old Pine Hill Cemetery]; and Clara, (1849-1884), who married Thomas
    Nicholas Peck, (1851-1903), [burial locations for both unknown.]

    Among the grandchildren of thomas and Sophia Peniston are several buried in either the Highland Park Cemetery or Old Pine
    Hill Cemetery. But that still leaves, among possible burials in the Peniston Cem.: 4 children of Sylvester and Sopia (Peniston)
    York, who died before 1890, [son Zebulon, (d.1945) is in Old Pine Hill ]; 2 children of Horace and Anna (Doniphan) Peniston,
    who died ca.1906, remain to be located, [the other 4 are in Old Pine Hill or Highland Park]; and Thomas and Clara (Peniston)
    Peck had 4 children, who all died between 1877 and 1886, none reaching 8 years of age, who might also be in the Peniston

    If the markers are now lost, it might help if some one who knows how could do a survey of the cemetery to determine the
    location and number of possible unmarked graves. Such a survey might also be able to distinguish what are more likely to
    be children's graves from adults.

    Dr.Thomas Jefferson Peniston's mother, Rebecca (Nuttall) Peniston, was the sister of two of my 3 greats-grandfathers:
    Price Brewington Nuttall and Thomas Nuttall. Dr.Peniston was the 1st cousin of Dr.Ditto Lego Nuttall, (my great-great-
    grandmother's brother), who was also an early resident of the Sicily Island area.

    Lindsay Nuttall

    1. Hi Lindsay! Good to hear from you again. I agree with the presumption regarding the Peniston Cemetery. With the Peck Cemetery being so close to Peniston Cemetery, Thomas, Clara and children could possibly be buried there.

      The last time I was back home, the area around Norris Springs/Norris Cemetery had been clear cut but the area around the Peniston and Peck Cemeteries was still quite dense. I am planning to go back in early spring and hope to locate the cemeteries. Timing is everything due to the snakes known to reside in those areas! I will certainly document anything I find and share it on my blog.

      Thanks again for taking the time to comment with such wonderful information!

    2. Hi, there's supposedly a George Peniston, (1837-1842), buried in the Gillis/Lovelace Cem.,(?), Lake Lovelace,
      near Sicily Island. I'm not sure who this might be, but if he's Thomas Jefferson Peniston's son it's apparently
      by some other person than Sophia, since they reportedly married in May 1838. The 1840 census supposedly
      shows him as Doctor Pennistone (?), but list him as the only white, along with 15-16 slaves. So Sophia and
      their oldest daughter must have been staying elsewhere, perhaps with her parents (?), while Dr.Peniston had
      these slaves clear the land (?). Sophia was the daughter of George Washington Lovelace and Sophia Dorcus
      Wells. I'll see if I can find out what their household looks like in 1840. If no child seems to appear who might
      be the George Peniston, It could mean there's no connection, (or could Dr.Peniston have fathered George by
      a slave), but it's hard to be certain.

      I'm using the anonymous category because it's not quite clear to be which other one to choose when posting
      my replies. Hope this doesn't cause any problems.

      Lindsay Nuttall

    3. Sophia doesn't seem to be in her parents house hold in 1840, (another dead end), and another source says
      Dr.Peniston and Sophia were married in 1833 and had 10 children altogether. If that's correct George might
      have been another son after all. I'll stop for now, before the spelling errors and typos in my other messages
      start to annoy me even more.

      Ok, one more thing, Charles W and Lydia (Reeves) Peniston had a daughter Lydia, (b.1865), who was still
      living with her Reeves grandparents, in Tensas Par., in 1880.

      Lindsay Nuttall

    4. From one of the local history books (Our Island Heritage, Vol. 3, A Book of Biographical Sketches" Compiled by Sophie Crawford Haley & Mickie Farmer Smith-Commemorating Frontier Days, June 30-July 1, 1978-Sicily Island, Louisiana.) it is stated that Dr. Peniston and Dorcas were married in 1833. I have George listed as their son but I'm backtracking through my information to see how I came about the connection.

      An attempt to locate the Gillis Cemetery last Spring was unsuccessful but I'm hoping to make another try. My cousin owns the land and we're hoping to get some of the thick underbrush cleared out before our next search. She remembers her mother having the tombstones cleaned several years ago so we know the cemetery is there.

    5. I went ahead and added Find a Grave sites for Dr.Peniston and his wife, placing both, along with notes making it
      clear that it was not 100% certain they were there, in the Peniston Cem.. This is taking something of a chance,
      but I think the odds are strong that I'm right. What makes me think so most of all is actually the fact that Horace
      Marshall Peniston's widow, Anna (Doniphan) Peniston, was buried by herself in the Old Pine Hill Cemetery. This
      has me thinking the reason she's not buried with her husband, who died 60 years earlier, is because he's buried
      in the Peniston Cemetery, but by the time of her death no burials had occurred there for at least 50 years. That's
      why Horace Doniphan Peniston's widow, Georgia (Westbrook) Peniston and others who came to the 1986 Nuttall
      Family Reunion, in Carrollton KY, made no mention of a Peniston Cemetery. Chances are even Georgia hadn't
      been there, if ever, for 40 + years. Georgia probably knew her father-in-law, who died long before her marriage,
      was buried somewhere in the area, but had forgotten the exact location of the grave among the overgrowth that
      had taken over the burial grounds.

      Anyway, when you have time take a look and see if you think of anything else I should add to the Find a Grave
      sites. Hope you have a great Christmas and New Year.

      Lindsay Nuttall

    6. I agree with your logic. I'll also go take a look at the memorials on FindAGrave. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family!