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The community of Buckville (Garland County) was inundated by the waters of Lake Ouachita in the 1950s; the remains lie under the lake’s surface. The Buckville Cemetery is the only reminder of the town that occupies its original location. The cemetery, which is located in northern Garland County off Buckville Road about two miles south of Avant (Garland County), was added to the National Register of Historic Places on September 27, 2007.
The town of Buckville developed in the years following the Civil War. A post office was established in 1884, and a thriving community existed by the 1900s. A decline began by the 1920s when Arkansas Power and Light (AP&L) embarked on the construction of three dams on the Ouachita River which, when completed, would flood the area. People slowly began to move away, and the Baptist church was the only building that remained by the 1940s. With the completion of the third dam, Blakely Mountain Dam (then a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers project), the town site was covered by the lake’s water.
Situated no farther than thirty feet from the lake shoreline, the cemetery contains 303 graves, many of which belong to the area’s early settlers and prominent citizens. Though it is not clear when the cemetery was established, some sources state that the land was donated by Henry Williamson and Seaborn Brown in 1873. While the oldest documented burial is that of Frank Housley in 1861, it is believed that others predate his burial.
The Buckville Baptist Church building was moved from the southern side of the burial grounds to higher ground to the north in 1951. While the rising waters of Lake Ouachita spelled the end of the town, it did not necessitate the removal of the cemetery. However, the entrance to the cemetery was changed to the northern side. In the 1960s, a chain link fence was added to enclose the cemetery.
The cemetery is laid out in the shape of a shield, but there seems to be no pattern for individual graves, which face in all directions. There are a number of elaborate headstones throughout, with many graves bordered by field stones or iron fencing.
The Buckville Cemetery Association was created in the 1950s to care for the cemetery and others in the area. A historical marker was placed in the cemetery. An annual homecoming and decoration day is held every second Sunday in June.
For additional information:“Buckville Cemetery.” National Register of Historic Places. On file at Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, Little Rock, Arkansas. Online at http://www.arkansaspreservation.com/!userfiles/GA0423.nr.pdf (accessed April 30, 2014).
Mike Polston Encyclopedia of Arkansas History & Culture
Last Updated 5/6/2014
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