Spring Station Pike
Midway, KY 40347
Saint Rose Tabernacle Cemetery
Spring Station Pike
Research, documentation and records of African American history can be challenging to find. From the Woodford Heritage News, Vol. 15, No. 1, 1-15-1999: “African American burial records are so difficult to find for these (early) years.” At this time, there have been no deeds and other official records on the St. Rose Tabernacle Cemetery found through city and county offices and informal channels (e.g., talking with many community members). Ruth Thomas (1915-2011), a long time Midway resident, recalled in a 1991 interview that there were two African American lodges on the north side of Main Street when she was a child. One was the Sons and Daughters of Relief, and the other was the Tabernacle Lodge – which may have been the organization that created the Saint Rose Tabernacle Cemetery. On PVA records the owner of St. Rose is listed as “Tabernacle Number Two”. The Sons and Daughters Cemetery has long been called Cemetery #1 by the Midway African American community. St. Rose is known as Cemetery #2. Greg Bush grew up here and knew the cemeteries by these names. The earliest graves are Harriett Hurley, 1888 and Fannie Moore, 1904. Midway African Americans were buried in the Sons and Daughters of Relief Cemetery from the town’s founding until the early 1900s. African Americans were then buried in St. Rose Tabernacle Cemetery until integration ended the segregation of burials. In 2020, an updated index of graves in St. Rose Tabernacle cemetery was created by community members John and Patty Holloway. They updated the index that had been created earlier as part of a boy scout project. In 2020, there were 163 known, documented graves. Many of the names on markers are familiar in Midway in current times, such as Darneal, Bush, Bradley, Lee, Fowler, Guy and Hamilton. It is believed there are many more unmarked graves that fell into disrepair and were lost through the years.
The City of Midway now maintains all three cemeteries to honor and show respect to all those buried in Midway. Research is on-going to find more records and documentation on the Midway African American Cemeteries. Anyone with knowledge of their history is asked to please contact Midway City Hall.
Sons & Daughters of Relief Cemetery
Wausau Street at Higgins Street
The oldest cemetery in Midway. Final resting place of veterans as well as former slaves who became great leaders in Midway’s African American community. Famous horseman, Edward Dudley Brown, is buried here in an unmarked grave.
History of Midway Cemetery
Although Midway was established in 1833, there was not a central, city-run cemetery until 1890 when R.S. Starks, Richard Godson, John B. Swope and J.A. Steele had the stat legislature pass an act authorizing the Midway Cemetery Company. On July 8, 1890, Starks, Steele, Swope and Godson purchased a 23 acre, 2 rood, 10 sugar pole tract of land lying west of Midway on the Midway and Spring Station Turnpike Road, from John P. and Columbia Ennis for the sum of $2, 945.31. On September 10, 1890, 17 acres, 26 sugar poles of this land were sold to the Midway Cemetery Company for the sum of $1.00.
With this land now set aside, Midway finally had a place to bury their own and in the same year of 1890, Lacrecia Ingram Russell became the first to be laid to rest in the new cemetery.
The following year, 1891, the Midway Cemetery Company donated a lot for the re-burial of four Confederate prisoners of war who were executed for a crime which they did not commit. The men, M. Jackson, J. Jackson, S. Rissinger and N. Adams were reportedly buried where they fell on November 4, 1864. The women of Midway, led by Mrs. Nancy Porter, were responsible for leading a movement to move the soldiers’ remains to the new cemetery. A monument erected on the site reads “Rest Soldiers, Rest Thy Warfare O’er”.
The years following saw regular movement at the cemetery. Then, in 1956, Miss Mayme Cogar sent out 200 letters asking for donations to friends who had relative buried there. The funds received were palced in an account that is still used by the Midway Woman’s Club to help beautify the cemetery.
In the decade of the 1960s, the cemetery was enlarged with the addition of sections G, L and M. During this time, the vault at the back was also removed.
Midway has a long and proud history of supporting our country in its struggle for freedom at home and abroad. In turn, it has given many sons and daughters to the cause. Citizens, in an effort to show their appreciation for these brave men and women, formed a Veterans Memorial Committee. Under the leadership of Joe Fisher, a monument with the names of those who served in all branches of the armed forces during all wars was erected. It was dedicated on July 4, 1997, and now serves at the focal point of the cemetery.
Midway Veterans Memorial
The Midway Veterans Memorial was dedicated by ceremony on July 4, 1997. Engraved on the Memorial were the names of 756 Veterans who were both living and deceased. Today It has 864 engraved names that individually recognizes 7 prisoners of war and 14 killed in action; reflecting periods of service as far back as the Mexican War to current conflicts such as the Iraq/Afghanistan Wars.
Established in 1995 the Midway Veterans Memorial Committee formed with the purpose of erecting a Memorial to recognize area Veterans for their sacrifices. Through various fundraising efforts they not only accomplished that goal but provided a legacy for the people of Midway.
Projects like adding park benches and armed forces flags brought a balance to the Memorial but an extension of the concrete provided the possibility to view and add more names for years to come. Through the Memorial Day Foundation the Midway Veterans Memorial was later included in The National War Memorial Registry.
On April 10, 2018 committee members voted to disband after its 25th anniversary and revert management of the Memorial back to the City of Midway starting July 31, 2020. For future name considerations please complete the form and return to City Hall.
Veterans Memorial Questionaire
Rules and Regulations (As Adopted by the Midway City Council)
- Interments and inurnments will be made by Midway Cemetery personnel only.
- Interments and inurnments will be made only after obtaining the following:
- authorization of the owner of the cemetery lot.
- authorization of the nearest relative deceased.
- approval of the Midway Cemetery.
- The Midway Cemetery shall not be held responsible for any order authorizing an interment given over the telephone, nor for any mistake occurring because of inaccurate instructions
- No lot owner may sell his lot or any portion thereof privately without permission of the Midway Cemetery. The Midway Cemetery will repurchase any lot or portion thereof at the original purchase price less the current transfer fee, providing no interments have taken place.
- The Midway Cemetery will not recognize transfers of ownership by will unless duly notified.
- The owner of each lot shall have the right of beautification of their lot, but in order to achieve the best results, all planting must be done with the permission of the cemetery manager and under his supervision. No tree nor shrub growing within the lot shall be cut down or destroyed without the written consent of the management and if any tree or shrub situated in any lot shall become detrimental to the adjacent lots or avenues, it shall be the right and duty of the management to remove said trees or shrubs, with the lot owner bearing all costs.
- Toys, shells, balloons, decorative stones, statuary of animals, angels, etc., and similar articles are not allowed to be placed upon graves, nor will trellises, fencing or curbing be permitted on any lot.
- Artificial decorations will only be permitted from November 15 until March 1. Artificial decoration placed at other times will be removed.
- Any decorations placed on a lot that do not conform to the Midway Cemetery’s policies will be removed.
- Natural flowers will be permitted at any time and will be removed when wilted. The pots or baskets containing such plants should be placed in close proximity to the monument.
- Flowerbeds of spring bulbs of summer annuals planted in front of monuments or between markers are allowed. Should a flowerbed become unkempt, the Midway Cemetery reserved the right to remove such bed.
- Bark mulches are not allowed around headstones.
- Articles made of concrete, e.g., urns, benches, boxes, etc., are not permitted on lots.
- Standards, supports, hangers and brackets used for the hanging of flowers and other type of plantings will not be allowed on any grave in the cemetery. Grave decorations must consist only of approved materials, such as flower baskets, small flower pots (12 inches or less), wreaths and in-ground planting where allowed.
- In March of each year, the grounds are given an annual house cleaning. A second clean up in made a week following Memorial Day.
- The Midway Cemetery disclaims all responsibility for loss or damage from causes beyond its reasonable control, especially due to thieves, vandals, explosions, unavoidable accidents or acts of God.
- Since this is a cemetery with an inherent sacred nature, it is requested that visitors be decently clothes, including shoes and shirts, and that they refrain from parties, picnics and sports activities of any kind on the grounds.
- No pets allowed in the cemetery.
- No skateboards, rollerblades or skates are allowed in the cemetery.
- The Midway Cemetery reserves the right to prohibit entrance to the cemetery by the public at those times when the safety of visitors and preservation of the cemetery is threatened by bad weather or similar factors.
- It shall be the right and duty of the Midway Cemetery to review or amend the cemetery rules, guidelines and fees on a yearly basis.
- The above rules and regulations do not constitute all the rules and regulations of the Midway Cemetery, but only those most pertinent to the Midway Cemetery and its visitors.
Download a PDF of the Cemetery Brochure.