Arkansas State University Group Traces Graves at Cemeteries

Article excerpt

TULOT, ARK.

Descendants of Black sharecroppers in Poinsett County are attempting to get two cemeteries listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Dr. Julie Morrow, archaeologist at the Arkansas Slate University-Jonesboro station of the Arkansas Archaeological Survey, and eight of her archaeology and geology students traced grave sites at the Tulot Cemetery, located southwest of Trumann. They will conduct similar research at the Judd Hill Cemetery.

"We're just recording the headstones and also the depressions in the ground that might represent burials," Morrow said.

The oldest headstone dated to 1895. The researchers found about 80 marked or unmarked graves. The students placed small flags at headstones and depressions that appeared to be gravesites.

Deric Wyatt of the Arkansas Highway and Transportation Department will use satellite technology to prepare a map of the graves.

Mattie Wortham, a member of Judd Hill Memorial Scholarship, Inc., a group of descendants of sharecroppers, said the group has been working for the past few years to restore the two Black cemeteries in Poinsett County, Tulot and Judd Hill. She said the Tulot Cemetery was nearly obscured by vegetation, and headstones had suffered from many years of vandalism. She said the work has been valuable. "The students are really eager and glad to be out here and that really helps me," Wortham said. …