Carter County Cemetery Preservation and Maintenance

A cemetery preservation coordinator arranges for the maintenance of the cemetery grounds. Basic maintenance involves the cutting of the grass, trimming of shrubbery, repair of fencing, and other routine activities needed to preserve the sanctity and aesthetics of the final resting place of our Carter County kin. The coordinator may also wish to create a cemetery maintenance fund, and handle the acceptance and disbursement of donations. Preservation may necessitate contact with the owner of the private property on which the cemetery is located, with the goal of assuring the continued existence of the cemetery, as well as access to it. The coordinator may also assume responsibility for marker reading and photographing, as well as marker restoration or replacement.

If you would like to act as the coordinator for the preservation of a Carter County cemetery,
please contact John Grace

You may also join an existing preservation community and support it through donations and bequests.
Please contact these volunteers for information on the maintenance and preservation of each listed cemetery.

"Danny Boy" as sung by the late Eva Cassidy

"And if you come, when all the flowers are dying
And I am dead, as dead I well may be
You'll come and find the place where I am lying
And kneel and say an "Ave" there for me."

"And I shall hear, tho' soft you tread above me
And all my dreams will warm and sweeter be
If you'll not fail to tell me that you love me
I'll simply sleep in peace until you come to me."

Lyrics from "Danny Boy", an old Irish folk song

Click here for 2006 Cemetery Preservation info

Note, if you click on a contact link, you may be prompted to log in to your mail server

Cemeteries Needing a Sponsor

Old cemetery on the ridge above Star Hill, on the old Woodrow Stanley land

Ferguson-Haney Cemetery at the corner of Lykins property and Justice property. Located at the foot of Star Hill on US 60 on the Jim Lykins property. It is situated on the ight side of US 60 as you drive toward Ashland from Grayson. There are 4 to 6 graves on 1/8 acre. The fence is down and the graves are being obliterated by the cattle. Those interested in helping to preserve this cemetery may contact: Carolyn Reeves Whitley 7094 E. US 60 Rush, Kentucky 41168 (606) 474-8010 or Larry Hanay Jr. (606) 474-0758

Logan Bays Cemetery (Bays, Thompson and Horton families)
From Grayson, travel South on Hwy. 7. Turn left on to Rt. 773 and cross two one-lane bridges. After crossing the second bridge, turn left into Bucksaw Junction. Immediately, turn left again on the Wells Rd. Go to the end of the road and the cemetery is located on top of the hill, about 200 ft.behind a mobile home, in a group of trees in a pasture.accessible.) The Wells family may be the owners of the property. "The cemetery is in terrible shape. Every tombstone has been toppled by cattle and not maintained at all."

Cemetery Preservation Suggestions

Proven methods for raising funds for the preservation of small cemeteries include the posting of a sign in
the cemetery which gives directions to visitors on how to make contributions to the cemetery's maintenance fund.
I purchased a small but sturdy plastic sign at the hardware store and modified it to be used as a "donation" sign".
The sign was about 4" by 6" with a "Handicap Entrance" message on it. I painted over the old message with latex paint.
After the paint dried, I applied "peel and stick" letters with the message:

"We need your help. Donations may be sent to Ross Chapel Cemetery Maintenance Fund, PO Box xxx, Olive Hill, Kentucky 41164"

To protect the sign from the weather, I applied several coats of CLEAR acrylic canned spray paint.
I drilled 4 holes in the sign so that it could be nailed to a fence post at the cemetery.

I'm sure there are many other ways of making a sign, the important thing is to show people how to help. They will!

Press release concerning the Attorney General's Task Force on Cemetery Preservationt

Newsletter concerning the Attorney General's Task Force on Cemetery Preservation

The DLG announces 51 cemetery preservation grants to local entities

Laws Relating to Cemetery Protection


 KRS 381.690 Protection of burial grounds by cities

Whenever any burial grounds lie within the corporate limits of a city 
the governing authorities of the city shall protect the burial 
grounds from being used for dumping grounds, building sites, 
playgrounds, places of entertainment and amusement, public 
parks, athletic fields or parking grounds.

HISTORY: KS 2741p-1

Penalty, 381.8990(2)

KRS 381.697

Every cemetery in Kentucky except private cemeteries shall be 
maintained by its legal owner or owners, without respect to the 
individuals owners of burial plots in the cemetery, in such a manner so 
as to keep the burial grounds or cemetery free of growth 
of weeds, free from accumulated debris, displaced tombstones or other 
signs and indication of vandalism or gross neglect.

HISTORY: 1972 H 157, ▀ 2, eff. 6-16-72

Penalty, 381.990(2)(4)

KRS 381.700

The governing authorities of any city within whose corporate limits any 
burying grounds lie may require the owner or those 
having claims to the grounds to properly care for them.

HISTORY: KRS 2741p-2.

Penalty, KRS 381.990(2)

KRS 381.710 Evidence of dedication or use of land as burying ground.

The fact that any tract of land has been set apart for burial purposes 
and that a part or all of the grounds has been used for burial 
purposes shall be evidence that such grounds were set aside and used 
for burial purposes. The fact that graves are not visible 
on any part of the grounds shall not be construed as evidence that such 
grounds were not set aside and used for burial 
purposes. Effective: 1 October 1942

History: Recodified 1942 Ky Acts Ch. 208, sec 1, effective October 1, 
1942, from Ky Stat. Sec 2741 p.-3.

KRS 381.715 Burial Rights in cemetery lots; abandonment; resale by 
cemetery (amended 18 March 1994)

(1) As used in the section, äcemetery lotż is a lot containing one (1) 
or more grave spaces located within a cemetery registered 
pursuant to KRS 367.946 in a county containing an urban-county 
government or in a city.

(2) An officer of the cemetery may cause to be filed, on behalf of the 
cemetery an action in the circuit court of the county where 
the cemetery is located requesting that the burial rights in the unused 
portion of the lots in question be deemed abandoned and 
that the cemetery be authorized to sell the rights upon entry of the 
court╝s judgment. The defendants in the action shall be the 
unknown heirs of the original owner of the burial rights in the lots in 

(3) The petition shall include the following:

(A) The name of the original owner of the burial rights in the lots in 

(B) The name of all persons buried in the lots and the date of burial, 
if known.

(C) The name, address and telephone of the cemetery office.

(D) An affidavit by the petitioner that:

1. No person has been buried in the cemetery lots in question for a 
period of at least one hundred (100) years.

2. The identity of any owner of the burial rights in the lot in 
question or any heir of the owner is unknown to any officer or 
employee of the cemetery and not discoverable after a good faith 
attempt by an officer or employee to identify the owner or 

(4) Service of process shall be by warned order attorney, appointed by 
the court pursuant to CR 4.07.

(5) If the court finds the allegations set forth in paragraph (d) of 
subsection (3) of this section to be true, the court shall enter 
judgment deeming the burials rights in the lots in question abandoned 
and authorizing the cemetery to sell the rights.

(6) No judgment shall be entered declaring burial rights abandoned if 
an owner or heir of a cemetery lot has filed within the 
cemetery a statement in writing directing that certain grave spaces not 
be used.

HISTORY: 1984 c 267, ▀ 1, eff. 7-13-84

KRS 381.720 Abandoned cemetery in certain cities, proceedings to vest 
title in city

Whenever in the opinion of the legislative body of a city of the first, 
second, third, fourth or fifth class a cemetery located within 
the boundaries of such city has been abandoned and the land comprising 
the said cemetery is needed for a public purpose, an 
ordinance may be enacted declaring such cemetery, as described by metes 
and bounds, to be abandoned and authorizing the 
city attorney to institute suit for the city or other governmental 
agency created by the city in the circuit court of the county in 
which the city is located against the property comprising the cemetery 
to declare the said cemetery abandoned and to vest title 
thereto in the said city, or any governmental agency created by it 
pursuant to or authority of the Kentucky Revised Statutes.

HISTORY: 1964 c 24, ▀ 1. Eff. 3-10-64

1954 c 29, ▀ 1


Abandonment or discontinuance of cemeteries. 14 Am Jur 2d, Cemeteries ▀ 
21 to 24.

KRS 381.740 Assertion of claim to compensation for value of interest in 
cemetery or lot

Within thirty days after the last advertisement, and party having a 
claim to the cemetery or any lot therein or to the mortal 
remains of a person interred therein, may file his claim in the said 
proceedings for damages as compensation for the value of his 
interest in the cemetery or lot to which he has claim. Upon the filing 
of the aforesaid claim the circuit court shall appoint as 
commissioners three impartial housekeepers who are owners of land. They 
shall be sworn to faithfully and impartially discharge 
their duties. The commissioners shall view the land involved and they 
may hear evidence or make any inquiry they desire 
touching the value thereof and award to claimant who are owners thereof 
the value of the property taken. They shall return a 
written report to the office of the clerk of the circuit court 
describing separately the property which is subject of each claim. 
Either the claimant or the complainant may file exceptions to this 
report and demand a jury trial. The commissioners shall be 
allowed a reasonable fee which shall be taxed as cost.

HISTORY: 1964 c 24, ▀ 3, eff. 3-10-64

1954 c 29, ▀ 3


Property rights in lots or vaults; burial and incidental rights. 14 Am 
Jur 2d, Cemeteries ▀ 25 et seq.

KRS 381.750 Judgment; removal of bodies and monuments

If no claim is made within thirty days after the last advertisement, or 
if claims have been made and compensation duly paid 
either to the claimants or into court, the court shall declare the 
cemetery to be abandoned and enter judgment accordingly, 
vesting fee simple title in the complainant. Thereafter claimants shall 
have thirty days in which to remove the mortal remains and 
monuments from lots to which they have been adjudged to have claim, the 
reasonable cost thereof to be paid by the claimant. 
If, within thirty days after entry of judgment said remains have not 
been removed by the claimants thereto, it shall be the duty of 
such complainant, through its proper officers, to pay for the removal 
of the monument and the disinterment, removal, and the 
reinterment of such body, or bodies, in such other cemetery in the 
county in which said city is located as the protesting lot 
owner may designate, or if no designation be made, to another suitable 
cemetery in the county.

HISTORY: 1964 c 24, ▀ 4, eff. 3-10-64

1954 c 29, ▀ 4


Property rights to vaults and gravestones. 14 Am Jur 2d, Cemeteries ▀ 

Changing place of interment. 22 Am Jur 2d, Dead bodies ▀ 22 to 28

Removal and reinterment of remains, 21 ALR2d 472

KRS 381.755 Removal of grave or cemetery on application of land owner 
or county; procedure; expenses

OAG 83-265. Liability for desecration of graves may exist when land 
that has been previously been used as a cemetery is 
reused as a cemetery without first removing and reinterring the remains 
of those previously buried there. There is no liability for 
desecration if the cemetery is abandoned so that nothing indicates 
there are graves in the ground, the person is without notice 
that graves exist, and the public no longer recognizes the land as a 

KRS 381.755 Removal of grave or cemetery on application of land owner 
or county; procedure; expenses

(1) Upon application of the owner of property on which is located an 
abandoned grave or cemetery or whenever the fiscal 
court or any county deems it to be in the best interest of the county 
to remove and relocate any such grave or cemetery the 
court may issue an order or resolution authorizing such removal or 

(2) The order or resolution for the removal and relocation of the grave 
or cemetery pursuant to subsection (1) shall specify and 
declare that at any time after the expiration of sixty days after the 
first publication of notice of such intended action pursuant to 
KRS Chapter 424, the court shall direct the removal and relocation of 
the grave or cemetery.

(3) Expenses for removal and relocation of any grave or cemetery under 
the provisions of this section shall be paid by the 
individual requesting such removal or if the removal is made in the 
best interest of the county the expenses shall be paid by 
county funds.

(4) Any grave or cemetery removed under the provisions of this section 
shall be relocated in suitable place at the expense of the 
person or county requesting such removal and relocation.

(5) For the purposes of this section a grave or cemetery shall be 
considered abandoned when left untended for a period of ten 
years preceding the date of the resolution for removal and relocation 
of the grave or cemetery.

KRS 433.660

Any person who willfully mutilates the graves, monuments, fences, 
shrubbery, ornaments, grounds or buildings in or enclosing 
any cemetery or place of sepulture; or violates the grave of any person 
by willfully destroying, removing or damaging the head 
or foot stones, or the tomb over the enclosure protecting any grave, or 
by digging into or plowing over or removing any 
ornament, shrubbery or flower placed upon any grave or lot shall be 
fined not less than ten dollars nor more than one hundred 
dollars, or imprisoned for not more then six months, or both.

KRS 525.105 Desecration of venerated objects, first degree.

(1) A person is guilty of desecration of venerated objects in the first 
degree when, other than authorized by law, he intentionally 
excavates or disinters human remains for the purpose of commercial sale 
or exploitation of the remains themselves or of objects 
buried contemporaneously with the remains.

(2) Desecration of venerated objects in the first degree is a Class D 
felony. (Enact. Acts 1988, ch 19, ▀ 1, effective March 30, 

KRS 525.110 Desecration of venerated objects, second degree.

(1) A person is guilty of desecration of venerated objects in the 
second degree when he intentionally:

(a) Desecrates any public monument or object or place of worship; or

(b) Desecrates in a public place the national or state flag or other 
patriotic or religious symbol which is an object of veneration 
by the public or a substantial segment thereof.

(2) Desecration of venerated objects in the second degree is a Class A 

(Enact. Acts 1974, ch 406, ▀ 221; 1988, ch 119, ▀ 2, effective March 
30, 1988; 1992, ch. 420, ▀ 3, effective July 14, 1992).

KRS 525.115 Violating graves

(1) A person is guilty of violating graves when he intentionally:

(a) Mutilates the graves, monuments, fences, shrubbery, ornaments, 
grounds, or buildings in or enclosing any cemetery or place 
of sepulture; or

(b) Violates the grave of any person by destroying, removing, or 
damaging the headstone or footstone, or the tomb over the 
enclosure protecting any grave; or

(c) Digs into or plows over or removes any ornament, shrubbery, or 
flower placed upon any grave or lot.

(2) The provision of subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to 
ordinary maintenance and care of a cemetery nor the 
removal and relocation of graves pursuant to procedures authorized by 
and in accordance with applicable statutes.

(3) Violating graves is a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and 
a Class D felony for each subsequent offense.

(Enacts. Acts 1992, ch. 420, ▀ 2, effective July 14, 1992.)

KRS 525.120 Abuse of a corpse

(1) A person is guilty of abuse of a corpse when except as authorized 
by law he intentionally treats a corpse in a way that 
would outrage ordinary family sensibilities.

(2) Abuse of a corpse is a Class A misdemeanor.