Saturday, February 03, 2007

Stephen Langford Gravesite Found

In Search of Stephen's Grave

The date for the reunion was set. Invitations had been sent. Response was encouraging. RSVP's were pouring in from all across the country. Only one thing was missing .....The Guest of Honor himself.

In the nearly 200 years since his death in 1811, the exact location of Stephen Langford's grave had been lost. There were rumors, based on recollections, that were more than half a century old. Family legend said that he was buried in Rockcastle very near the site of Langford Station, that tavern on the Wilderness Road where he supplied immigrants to Kentucky with food, a bed to sleep in, protection from Indian attack, and perhaps a little rum to ward off an autumn chill.

But rumor was all that could be had concerning this pioneer's grave, until... Saturday, February 27, 2007, when Research Historian, Jeff Renner, visited the old Elmwood Cemetery in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. Here in Jeff's own words is what he discovered:
"I found Stephen's stone. It is indeed in Elmwood Cemetery, just very, very hard to read. I caught a glimpse of what I thought was "TEP" on one of the old stones, so I got some flour and used it to bring out the detail. There's no question it says....
"IN MEMORY OF STEPHEN LANGFORD". (For the name especially, see the attached computer- enhanced photo.)
There are no dates or other information on the stone, nor any indication there ever was. he stone is broken roughly in half. It's in the oldest section of the cemetery. There are no marked graves close on either side of it.
The red arrows in the attached "elmwood1.jpg" and "elmwood2.jpg" photos show the relative location of the stone.
The stone does not appear to be the type that was stuck vertically in the ground. The beveled edge seen in the photo goes all around the edge. I would guess this was the top cap stone of a sarcophagus-like monument, similar to those seen in the attached " williamsmith.jpg" photo (that one was taken in 1911 and is of William Smith and his wife; the location is shown by the green arrow in elmwood2). The structure was probably not exactly the same, as the Smith monument tops lacked the bevel and were thicker.
The Langford stone is very similar in size and thickness to the ones of Mary Lewis (foreground of elmwood2), Mar? Carson (laying right of the bush and tree stump in front of Langford in elmwood1.jpg), and a couple of other early markers in the cemetery, and has the same bevel. The Lewis marker has several of what looks to be the remains of the support stones underneath it. There are only a few such stones under the Langford marker. The large vertical marker in the center of elmwood1 is Joseph Carson, who died in 1815." ......Jeff

There are many strange coincidences in life. How odd that Stephen's stone should be discovered in 2007, the very year that The First Annual Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion takes place.

Join us in Mt. Vernon, Ky on May 27. You won't want to miss Jeff Renner's description of life in early Kentucky along the Wilderness Road. Food, fun, and fellowship are also on the agenda. Be there because...

It Simply Won't Be The Same Without You!

The Stephen Langford Memorial Reunion Staff