Mystery at Hite Cemetery in NE Randolph County
Hite Cemetery near Biggers in NE Randolph County, one of the county’s oldest and largest rural cemeteries, contains a long standing mystery.
Photo One: Pictured is the tombstone of little Johnnie Hite born 1828, died in 1830. The inscription at the bottom says, “He was buried before he died.” The meaning of this inscription has been debated locally for many years. Surely the child wasn’t buried alive, but that’s what the inscription seems to indicate. The grave is at the NW corner of the cemetery in the Hite family plot. Photos by David Bowlin.
Photo Two: Hite Cemetery contains a log cabin, built in 1860 by the African-American slaves belonging to planters living on the rich farmland in Cherokee Bay—the land lying between the Black and Current Rivers. The cabin served a dual purpose as a church and a school for the community.
Photo Three: The cemetery contains a significant number of vintage Woodmen of the World monuments, some of them highly decorative.
To reach Hite Cemetery, take U.S. Hwy 67 north of Pocahontas about 8 miles. At the Biggers turn off, turn right on Hite Road. The cemetery is a short distance to the southeast.
Ginger Smith joined OGTC in 2014 as a volunteer, and has lived in this area since 1972 when she moved to be near her parents, the late Doss and Vivian Burgess. Her late father was Independence County Appraiser and any time family, whether kids or grand kids, came to visit for even a short time, he would take them to A.D. Hill’s grocery store, and get them a soda pop and candy bar, see the talking bird there, and end up “checking out the great White River.” All the kids and grands have played on the banks there, picnicked, and played on the old train. Ginger is adamant, since she moved to Batesville, there is just no other place to raise a family. Her love for the area and desire to help promote it in her professional capacity led her to seek volunteering, and Charlie Morris, whom she met when she was a typesetter at the Daily Guard Newspaper, put her in touch with Cathy Drew, Executor Director of OGTC. She has been on board since then and says she has loved everything she has done and is proud to represent North Central Arkansas.
The last 20 years of her employment she worked for the late County Judge David Wyatt, West Elementary School Principal Jerry Harris, and Circuit Clerk Claudia Nobles and Judge John Kemp. At the Guard Office she says she made friends for a life time, and then the West Elementary teachers, students, and their families grew close to her forever. Her last job she was hired in a newly created position to collect felony fines and restitution. She was so proud that after three years she more than tripled the annual revenues that she retired! Her part-time retirement job was with the ortho docs, Drs. Allen and Angel where she also met many people from all over the area, and made another set of new friends! She is a published writer and has also written feature articles for the Batesville Guard TV Guide and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette.
She has a daughter, Misty Long Sparks, son-in-law Dloyd Sparks, and three grands, Dalton Lee, Victoria Lynn and Anna Rose, who own her heart, and three more heartbeat grands, Nico and Corbin of Washington, and a late granddaughter, Ginger Savannah. Her late husband, Ken Smith, was the Batesville Postmaster.
Totally retired now, Ginger offers her time and writing abilities to OGTC as she travels around the state and visits with so many nice folks, writes reviews, and tries to be a worthy representative for Ozark Gateway Tourism. She is a people person who really cares for all God has blessed us with in our beautiful state of Arkansas in the United States of America.