County Genealogical Society

Benton County, Tennessee Genealogical Society

Identification of Neglected and Abandoned Cemeteries


The Society is no longer attempting to clean up and repair abandoned cemeteries. However, they do continue to locate and identify cemeteries.

This project is to identify abandoned and neglected cemeteries that have no affiliation with a church or other organization.


James Lynch

Honoring Our Ancestors -

Marking Old Cemeteries with New Signs

        In the fall of 2007 following the purchase of the Bank of Camden by the Clayton Foundation, a dinner was held by Mr. Jim Clayton at the Country and Western Steakhouse in Camden.  Jerold Johnson, the manager of the Big Sandy Branch of the Bank of Camden, invited James Lynch to the dinner as his guest.  During the dinner Mr. Clayton passed out to each person a biographical book about his life, First A Dream.  Although it would be expected that you would not start reading the book while he was speaking, Mr. Clayton admonished each of them to look inside the book and see if they might have something extra.  James Lynch opened his book and found a voucher for $500.00.  However, there was a stipulation - he could not keep the money; he had to use it for the benefit of the Benton County community.

        Some people do the right thing; some people do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.  James was thinking, "How can I use this money in the best way to benefit the most people?"  As he was thinking of various ways that the money could be used, he thought of the many old cemeteries, such as the Hatley-Harrison and Dalton cemeteries where he had relatives buried, that did not have a sign marking the cemetery or needed cleaning up.  A sign marking the cemetery would let people know its name as they passed by and saw it.  And maybe, just maybe a new sign at the cemetery, especially those old cemeteries that did not have a sign, might create an interest in those who have family members buried there to take pride in the cemetery and help keep it up.  James Lynch was one of those persons who knew the right thing to do and did it because it was the right thing to do.

        James approached the Benton County Genealogical Society with the idea of having signs made to be erected at cemeteries that did not have signs.  He explained that he had received $500.00 from the Clayton Foundation and would like to use it for this purpose.  The Society was ecstatic about the idea and following a meeting with the Berry Sign Company, the Society voted to supplement James' seed money resulting in 55 signs being made.

        Although it has taken longer than we would have liked for it to have taken, we are pleased to announce that all of the signs have finally been erected.  Some of the cemeteries were easy to find and the signs went up quickly; others were more difficult to get to or even find. 

        One of the last signs to be put up was at the Hatley-Harrison Cemetery, which just happens to be on property owned by James Lynch.

        The current listing and pictures of the signs erected are listed at Cemeteries Comleted 

 The following list of cemeteries were originally candidates for restoration and or marking and can be viewed at Cemetery Candidates For Marking and Cleaning   Although the information on this page is outdated as to the status of most of these cemeteries, the page has been left since it does contain information on how to get to some of the cemeteries.

After much hard work and fun, please view the
Cemeteries Completed

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