I had the distinct pleasure this past Saturday to work (again) in the Hill/Ledford Cemetery in Mitchell County. There are at least four Civil War soldiers buried here, three Federals and one Confederate. There maybe an additional Confederate soldier buried here, John Hill (1838-1889), but I cannot seem to line him up with any regiment. He did not serve in any of the local regiments, and efforts to find him in Union or Confederate Pension records remain inconclusive. There may also be an additional Federal soldier – Rickles Forbes. His wife is buried in the cemetery, but there is no marker for him. Forbes served in Company E, 3rd NC Mount. Inf.
The other soldiers in the cemetery include James Troutman - Co. B, 13th Tenn. Cav., George Troutman - 1st North Carolina Volunteers (Mexican War) and Co. B, 58th NCT; and, Samuel Garland – Co. I, 29th NCT and Co. E, 3rd NC Mount. Inf. The lone Confederate is William Wise, Co. F, 3rd NC Cav.
These two cemeteries run together, with the Ledford Cemetery being on the bottom and the Hill Cemetery being further up the hill (pardon the pun). We estimate that the Hill portion of the cemetery has been abandoned for 40-plus years, so you can image the amount of work that was required. Our local SCV Camp was contracted to do the work, and it has taken three very long Saturdays. We hope to spend another Saturday this fall trying to uncover more of the downed field rocks that serve as tombstones.
So why would someone keep up part of the cemetery and not the other? We were told that the folks who had kept up the Ledford part of the cemetery were descendants of Union soldiers. When the last of the Hill family, which had sided with the South, moved away, their portion of the cemetery was abandoned. Probably not a true story, but an interesting one.
In all of my 20+ years of cemetery tramping, this was probably the worst case that I have ever seen. Very large trees, a lot of briars, groundhog holes, poison ivy… I’m glad we were able to pull it out ofoblivion.