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Residents piece together history of Revolutionary War-era cemetery

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By Jeff D'Alessio

About a half-mile off Battle Training Road sits a stretch of history that helped shape Hardin County.

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Maffet Cemetery rests among trees shedding leaves these days on Bewley Hollow Road. Headstones that once were shattered and tarnished by vandals have now been pieced back together, one at a time.

“It’s just a respect for history and our past, you know,” said Les Dawson, project manager for cemetery restoration of the Ancestral Trails Historical Society. “I passed this cemetery a thousand times and never paid attention to it. Stones were broken up and in bad shape. We put them back together and pieced together some history.”

There are 81 known burials in the cemetery and 45 monuments were fixed over several months. Several other stones have sunk into the ground and there is a belief there are more people buried there.

“It tells the story of our past which leads to our future,” Gary Kemp, chairman of the group’s restoration committee, said of the cemetery. “Ancestral Trails is committed to preserving

history.”

Among the buried are several soldiers from the Revolutionary War, such as John Smith who died in 1841 at the age of 106.

His fifth great-granddaughter, Christina Lueken, was heavily involved in the work at Maffet Cemetery, formerly known as Old Mill Creek Cemetery. She learned Smith came here by horseback from Virginia when he was 74, she said.

“You recognize all of these names as you walk around and you become protective of them and where they are buried,” Lueken said. “We would not be Elizabethtown or Rineyville or any other place here without them. This is chock full of history.”

It wasn’t until she started tracing her family’s history in 2006 that she stumbled on the track of land off Bewley Hollow Road.

“It led me to here,” she said of her research.

A Louisville resident, she visits the cemetery about three times a year to link her history and to make sure the cemetery remains in good condition.

“We keep the weeds down and it’s a memorial,” Dawson said. “If the stones need to be fixed, we do it. We need to keep it in an appropriate way. You’re keeping their legacy alive by making it look right.”

Jeff D’Alessio can be reached at 270-505-1757 or jdalessio@thenewsenterprise.com.