Death in the Community
Death came in different forms. According to Lige Gibbons, Sherman Hensley's wife and two children died of TB. Lige himself lost a child to measles: "I lost one of ours. He had the measles, and I thought he was getting well. He was struck one night, speechless, and died just . . . the next night, by dark."
Decoration Day at the cemetery was a homecoming and is still celebrated annually by Hensley and Gibbons descendants and friends. Traditional activities included whitewashing the gravestones, placing flowers at the graves, singing, eating, and listening to various visiting preachers. As Herbert Hensley describes: "Decoration Day. . .'bout the third Sunday in June of every year. . .people would come up—good crowds. . .come up and have all day's preachin', 'til way up in the evening, and decorate all the graves. We decorated them out of wild laurel that grows in these creeks; ivy that grows in these creeks, which is a different flower, and the honeysuckle that grows in the mountains, in the woods."
Last updated: June 18, 2015