Mount Holly Cemetery in Little Rock

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MOUNT HOLLY CEMETERY IN LITTLE ROCK
“The Westminster Abbey of Arkansas”

This Love Your Parks Tour Family History and English Connection Story by Nancy J. Reid and Lisa D. Smith, was assigned by Holly T. Hansen of Family History Expos and Glynn Burrows of Norfolk Tours in England.

From the Quapaw migration to the Civil War, the state of Arkansas is a hub of history with Little Rock right in the heart of it all. Notable sites to visit include the Arkansas Governor’s Mansion, Arkansas State Capital, Historic Arkansas Museum, Old State House Museum, MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History, Firehouse Museum & Hostel, Arkansas Korean War Veterans Memorial and nearby Toltec Archaeological State Park.

This contemporary yet culturally significant capital city is also home to six destinations on the US Civil Rights Trail, including the Arkansas Civil Rights Heritage Trail, Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site, Clinton Presidential Center, Daisy Bates House, “Testament” Little Rock Nine Memorial, and Mosaic Templars Cultural Center.

Along with Mount Holly Cemetery, Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park and Little Rock National Cemetery, these historic and cultural sites are all destinations for those tracing their Arkansas family roots. Genealogist Holly T. Hansen has sent us on a story mission to find as many family history research repositories across the country, so of course we had to visit Mount Holly Cemetery!  Located in the Quapaw Quarter area of downtown Little Rock, this historic resting space was established back in 1843, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.


Now enter the English Connection part of our story, as assigned by Glynn Burrows over in Norfolk, England. With so many famous and notable Arkansans buried here, Mount Holly Cemetery has become known as “The Westminster Abbey of Arkansas.” This includes: 11 state governors, 14 state supreme court justices, 4 Confederate generals, 22 Little Rock mayors, and two Pulitzer prize winners. There are numerous military heroes, prominent physicians, church leaders, attorneys, as well as suffragettes, socialites, politicians, businessmen, farmers, laborers and slaves. How many could have ancestral ties back to England? Interestingly, the first site we stopped at bears the name Lincoln, and President Abraham Lincoln’s ancestors come from Swanton Morley in Norfolk County, where Glynn lives!

A visit to Mount Holly Cemetery is like a walk in the park. Stately shade trees stretch over the burial sites, while an abundance of flowers add vibrant splashes of color among the monument art. This beautiful and peaceful cemetery is open daily. You can take a self-guided walking tour (brochures are at the Victorian bell house), or make an appointment to take a guided tour.

We’d love to make a return visit to take in one of Mount Holly’s themed tours or special events. What a fascinating way to learn about Arkansas history, and the people who lived it! Their themed tours include: Arkansas and Little Rock History, the Cherokee Removal and Indian Territory, Confederate Arkansas, Victorian Funerary Art and Symbolism, African-Americans in Mount Holly, Famous Women of Mount Holly, and the Trees of Mount Holly. Special annual events include the Tales of the Crypt in October and Spring Picnic in April, plus they host a monthly Garden Series.

If you are tracing your Arkansas family history, Mount Holly sells a two-volume Burial Index that lists burials to 2011. They also have some great resources on their website http://mounthollycemetery.org/ which provides details on cemetery tours, events and history. For more about Little Rock’s historic sites and museums, visit www.LittleRock.com.

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