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Subject: Abbeville, La.'s Masonic Cemeteries
Date: Thu, 13 Jul 2000 14:50:30 EDT


Here's what my research turned up on these cemeteries.
Ken Dupuy
Maurice, La.
ABBEVILLE'S MASONIC CEMETERIES

It is appropriate that we designate the cemetery located on Main Street
in Abbeville, near the railroad tracks as the "old" Masonic Cemetery. Perhaps
it would be even more proper if we were to call it the "first" Masonic
cemetery, in that Abbeville has had three of them.
The old Masonic cemetery and the Catholic cemetery behind St. Mary
Magdalen Church were ordered closed by the Town Council in late 1904. There
were to be no more underground burials within the corporate limits after
January 1, 1905. Burials in existing vaults would still be allowed. Because
of this order, Father Laforest bought the "new" Catholic cemetery behind the
present Mount Carmel in 1905, and two other Masonic cemeteries came to be.
In January 1905, the Masons, represented by Dr. C.A. Schilling--who is
buried in the old Masonic cemetery--as Worshipful Master of the local Masonic
lodge, bought six acres in the southeastern portion of town on the
"continuation of Miles Ave." for the second Masonic cemetery. However, it was
not developed until 1906. The first burial in this new graveyard was not
until March 24, 1906. That interment was of Mrs. Sallie A. Dickerson's
day-old girl. Interestingly, the Catholic cemetery's first burial also
involved an infant: the son of Dr. and Mrs. C.J. Edwards. This day-old child
was buried on June 10, 1905. An adult was also buried there that day in the
new Catholic cemetery.
Graceland Cemetery--four arpents of land--was bought and developed in
1908. The third Masonic cemetery was bought and located "east of and
adjoining Graceland cemetery," also in 1908. Here is how the
Graceland-Masonic graveyards are described in 1909: "It contains four arpents
of land belonging to two proprietors. The eastern portion to...the Abbeville
Lodge, and the west half to...Graceland Cemetery Association, but all under
one enclosure, and operated as one cemetery, each half under the direction of
its own proprietors. The west portion (Graceland Cemetery Association) has
not been laid out as yet, and no lots are offered for sale at present. The
east half has been laid out and lots are for sale at present." Therefore,
the Masonic cemetery on Graceland Avenue was brought into being before the
Graceland cemetery.
By August 1909, the remains of those who had been interred in the second
Masonic cemetery, located in the southeastern portion of Abbeville, were
being removed and buried in this, the third Masonic cemetery. The Masons, in
October 1909, sold their second cemetery, which consisted of six acres, less
a plot 50 by 125 feet that had been sold to the town for a Potters' Field,
and less another plot that had been sold to others.
After 1906, the Masonic cemeteries, in which burials were made, are
referred to as the "new" and the "old" Masonic cemeteries.
A 1960's map of Abbeville shows a Masonic Cemetery, north of the
Graceland Cemetery Association property, and across Graceland Avenue from the
latter cemetery.
I have found the names of over thirty individuals who were buried in the
old Masonic cemetery, but whose grave sites are unknown to us, and whose
names, therefore, are not on the list that was compiled by Gary and Sandra
Theall. I listed these individuals as being buried in the old Masonic
cemetery if their obituaries stated that they were buried either in the "old"
Masonic Cemetery--after 1906--and if they were interred in the Masonic
Cemetery prior to 1906.
There is one exception to this rule, however. This man had built and
conducted one of the first public warehouses in Abbeville, just south of
Lafayette Street, and on the bayou. He died in New Orleans and his remains
were brought back to Abbeville on Saturday, December 7, 1901. His body was
placed in the Methodist church, where it remained until Sunday morning.
Funeral services were conducted by the Masons, with Judge A.C. Allen of
Franklin, ex-Grand Master of the State, officiating. The deceased had been a
Mason "in good standing." His second wife, who died in 1880, is buried in the
old cemetery. That person is Albert G. Maxwell. If that name sounds familiar
to you, it is because he is the one who donated the land for this old
cemetery.

Ken Dupuy
Maurice, La.


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