St. Rose Catholic Church was started by the Dominican fathers in 1806; the present building was finished two years later. The predecessor of St. Rose, St. Anne, the first Catholic Church in the area, was located just down the road a mile or two. This was where many of the Maryland pioneers settled when they came to Washington County, Kentucky, in the latter years of the 18th century. Those earliest Catholics are buried in the cemetery where St. Anne’s church used to be – but there are no gravestones remaining. I stopped at the farm house where the church property was located, and talked with the farmer who owned the land. He said there is nothing there to indicate there was a church or a graveyard. So St. Rose Cemetery has the earliest gravestones for Catholics in Washington County.
The church sits at the top of a hill, and has a commanding view of the surrounding countryside. The belltower is topped with a circle of white crosses, making it look like a jeweled crown on the very top.
But as with many older cemeteries, some of the stones are broken, removed from their original graves, and many of the stones are exceptionally hard to read.
There are several piles of stones -
and some are placed around trees. This is much better than throwing old, broken stones away, but I feel bad that these stones no longer mark the gravesite of the person they represent.
I hope to get photos of all the stones in this cemetery as soon as possible – especially the older sections – to have a permanent record of the last resting place of the people buried in this cemetery.
The many and varied stones in this cemetery are quite interesting. Most of the people buried here have descendants who still live in the area.
The common surnames of Maryland pioneers – Smith, Spalding, Cambron, Clements, Edelen, Carrico, Montgomery and Hamilton – are seen not only on the older stones, but also the more recent ones.
Alexander Hamilton and his four wives are listed on this stone. This just shows the hardships of life in the early 19th century – especially concerning women and childbirth.
The McIlvoy and Polins came from Ireland and settled in this area.
Lots of history in this cemetery – as there is in any. History we don’t want to lose! Let’s keep alive the memory of the people buried here - for future generations!