Bethel Cemetery Memorial Service to be held July 13
The 60th annual Bethel Cemetery Memorial Service is planned for 11 a.m. Sunday, July 13, at the Bethel Methodist Church.
The Bethel Cemetery Memorial Service is held to honor ancestors and family members buried in the Bethel Community Cemetery. An offering is taken each year for the mowing expenses and maintenance of the cemetery.
The Memorial Day service is sponsored by the Bethel Cemetery Committee to raise funds for cemetery upkeep and maintenance. Linda Caldwell is committee chair.
The Bethel Cemetery came into being Dec. 19, 1854, through the generosity of Elijah Deaver Sr. It was on this date that Deaver deeded two acres of land to be used as a common burying ground for the surrounding community, to the three trustees, William B. Cathey, Augustus Hargrove and Andrew Wells. The original site is now filled.
The cemetery has been enlarged three times. C. W. Wright sold some adjoining property, the section which lies on the hillside in front of the Bethel Baptist Church, to individuals for their own use. In recent years, another tract of land, lying on the east side of the original land, was purchased. Lots are being sold in this area at the present time. The money acquired from the sale of these lots is placed into a fund to insure its perpetual upkeep. An additional tract was purchased in 1987 and is being developed as part of the cemetery.
There are no provisions to ensure the upkeep of the original section deeded by Deaver and the section sold by Wright. The Rev. Thomas Erwin and people of the community, relatives and friends decided to meet together on the second Sunday in July, 1955, with the Bethel Baptist, Bethel Methodist, and Bethel Presbyterian Churches meeting together for the service and luncheon. This year will be 60th meeting for the memorial service.
On this day, a collection is taken to pay for the upkeep of these areas. About 10 years ago, a special fund known as the Bethel Cemetery Memorial Trust fund, was begun. The goal of this fund is to accumulate enough money to enable the interest realized to ensure their perpetual upkeep.
Trustees of the cemetery are Bill Holbrook, chairman; Kristen McElrath, secretary/treasurer; Robert Cathey, James Duncan; Ricky Hannah, and the Rev. Bill Terrell.
Cemetery committee members are Linda Caldwell, chairwoman; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Cathey; Norman Long; J. M. Long Jr.; Audrey Burnette; David Vance; the Rev. Bill Terrell, Dr. Bill Peek, (honorary), Bobby Mease, Mr. and Mrs. Johnny Sloan, the Rev. & Mrs. Riley Covin, Mr. & Mrs. Don Davis, and Mr. and Mrs. Tom Cathey.
Following the program at the church, a covered dish luncheon will be held in the Bethel School Cafeteria.