March 19, 2016

Forgotten Cemeteries, Part One - Peniston Cemetery

Peniston Cemetery - Courtesy of Ashley Varner

So many of the older and often rural cemeteries across our country seem to have been forgotten or abandoned.   Tombstones once placed to remember loved ones are now being swallowed up by undergrowth in areas unaccessible and unknown to most people.  Restoring and maintaining these old cemeteries has become quite a challenge, especially in rural areas where there are no funds available or people interested and able to perform the work.

This post is part one in a series on forgotten cemeteries in the Sicily Island area.  It is my hope that by documenting the burials in these locations and sharing the photographs through this blog, others will become interested in locating and documenting forgotten cemeteries in their area.  Even in cases where restoring and maintaining these cemeteries is not possible, documenting the final resting places of our ancestors needs to be done.

My daughter and I recently visited the old Peniston Cemetery just outside of Sicily Island.  This cemetery, located off highway 913 near Leland, is the final resting place for Dr. Thomas Jefferson Peniston and a few of his family members.  It is believed that Dr. Peniston's wife, Sophia Dorcas Ann Lovelace was also buried in this cemetery, though no tombstone was found to confirm this.

Dr. Thomas Jefferson Peniston

With the help of my friend and fellow researcher, Jon Garner, we were able to complete the documentation of the cemetery.   Many thanks to Nelson L. Nuttall for providing information on the Peniston family and to Ashley Varner for allowing me to use several of her photographs in this post.

View from Hwy. 913

The cemetery sits on a knoll less than 50 yards off of highway 913.  The above photograph was taken from the highway facing west and shows the knoll in the background.

Courtesy of Ashley Varner

Across the highway and to the east sits the Old Pine Hill Cemetery shown above.

Peniston Cemetery Entrance

The above photograph shows what was once the gated entrance to the cemetery. The entrance faces north.

Peniston Cemetery

This photograph was taken from the entrance to the cemetery facing east/southeast and shows the remains of the fencing that once encircled the graves.  One tombstone appears to be just outside the fenced area.

Peniston Cemetery

Buried in the Peniston Cemetery are the following members of Dr. Thomas Jefferson Peniston's family:

Daughter, Sophie Peniston (1839-1911) and her husband, Sylvester York (1821-1884)

Courtesy of Ashley Varner
Courtesy of Ashley Varner

Granddaughters, Clara York (1866-1869) and Pearl York (1869-1870); daughters of Sophie and Sylvester York.

Granddaughter, Julia York (1875-1878); daughter of Sophie and Sylvester York.

Grandson, Augustus York (1881-1883); son of Sophie and Sylvester York.

Son, Horace Marshall Peniston, Sr. (1848-1897)

Granddaughter, Mary Peniston Lee (1884-1906); daughter of Horace Marshall Peniston, Sr. and Anna Doniphan Peniston.

Grandson, Horace Marshall Peniston, Jr. (1886-1906); son of Horace Marshall Peniston, Sr. and Anna Doniphan Peniston.

Courtesy of Ashley Varner

More information on the Peniston family can be found in a previous post, Dr. Thomas Jefferson Peniston and Family.

Additional information on the Peniston family provided by Nelson L. Nuttall can be found on the Find A Grave cemetery page, Peniston Cemetery.

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