From a photograph by Solomon D. Butcher of four daughters of rancher Joseph M. Chrisman, at their sod house in Custer County, Nebraska. From left to right, Harriet, Elizabeth, Lucie, and Ruth. Photographed in 1886.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Chapel Hill Church in Christian County, KY

Carneal's Chapel, near Barker's Mill, in the West Fork Community


Chapel Hill Church in April, 2009

Tonight, I'm revisiting the Barker's Mill and West Fork area of southeastern Christian County, Kentucky. I want to share some of the photos I took at Chapel Hill Church when I was there several times last spring.

The Chapel Hill Church was originally called Carneal's Chapel for Josiah Carneal who donated land and helped to build it.  Regular worship services are no longer held there, but it was a Methodist church.

The church and cemetery sit inside the bend of a quiet rural road, encircled by farmland. The grounds are shaded by tall oak trees that count their age by the centuries they've seen. Birds sing in the treetops.

The cemetery is nicely maintained. The headstones are a mixture of old and new. I counted about 45 different surnames, but I am sure I missed some of them. A complete listing of the gravestone inscriptions is posted on one of the internet genealogy sites.

In the churchyard, swings and benches invite visitors to relax. There are things to study, too -- a geological survey marker and a metal historical marker (side 1 | side 2) that summarizes the history of the West Fork Community.

There's also a small mystery -- what are the rocks with holes in their centers, piled against a tree trunk in the churchyard? I picked up a similar but smaller rock in the cemetery, that still had its core. Keely thinks they look like pieces of ancient bone, and she may be right. Maybe ancient inhabitants of the area killed and dressed some animals here. I'm curious, but I'll probably never know for sure.

I'm disappointed that I missed a Hymn Sing that was held at Chapel Hill Church on May 30, 2009. I think I would have enjoyed it immensely. It's significant that a columnist from the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle wrote about the event. It demonstrates the community's ties with Clarksville, Tennessee, rather than Hopkinsville, Kentucky (the seat of Christian County).

The Chapel Hill Church is just a very intriguing place. If you're  interested in more of the West Fork area's history, please read the other posts that are labeled  "Barker's Mill".

4 comments:

Collagemama said...

If it is ancient bone, why would it be at the base of the tree? I hope you will solve the mystery and let us know. Very odd.

Genevieve said...

I think that someone has found the rocks lying around the church yard and piled them by that tree. They may not be bones -- but they do sort of look like bones.

Anonymous said...

Genevieve, I love your photos of Chapel Hill Church. They capture the lush green hues of some beautiful scenery pretty well.
-Zach

Genevieve said...

Thanks, Zach. Actually, it would be hard to take a really bad picture at this site. It's a truly beautiful place.

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