Entrance to Minden Cemetery
at Goodwill Street.
The Minden Cemetery, located in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana, United States, has graves dating from 1843, seven years after the founding of the city in 1836. Some of the oldest marked graves date back to the era of the American Civil War, but most are 20th-century interments.
Part of the graveyard is located south of Bayou Avenue not far from the downtown district. A larger section is bordered by Bayou Avenue on the west, Goodwill Street on the south and Rephart Street on the north and east. Rephart Street follows the easternmost part of the newer portion of the cemetery adjacent to the main artery of traffic, Pine Street. There is a traffic light at the intersection of Pine and Goodwill at one of several entrances to the cemetery.
According to the cemetery website, historical accounts differ on when interments began at the cemetery. Many older grave markers were destroyed in a tornado on May 1, 1933. The first grave, the re-interment of a Mrs. Mary A. Smith on April 22, 1840, is unmarked, having been among the monuments toppled in the tornado. Two other early graves are those of Sarah Emily Pennell on September 13, 1843, and Samuel B. Harper on October 12, 1859. In 1854, the cemetery owners, Colonel and Mrs. John Langdon Lewis, deeded the property to the city of Minden. As of 2009, gravemarkers still existed dating back to 1843.
In 1864, the bodies of twenty-one Confederate soldiers who died of wounds suffered at the Battle of Mansfield were buried in unmarked graves in the cemetery. In 1936, an obelisk was placed at the site of the graves. Individual markers were placed near the obelisk in 2008 to honor the soldiers.
The last surviving Confederate widow in Minden, storekeeper Alberta Glass (August 25, 1845 – January 8, 1937), is interred at Minden Cemetery.
In 2003, the Minden Cemetery Association began conducting an annual "Ghost Walk" to raise money for cemetery upkeep. The event features citizens dressed in period costume portraying some of those interred at the cemetery.
Prominent local citizens interred at Minden Cemetery include two U.S. representatives, four state representatives, a state senator from the 1950s, and twelve mayors who served since 1910. The tombstones of all of these persons are pictured in their Wikipedia articles, accordingly:
- Mayors in chronological order
- J. J. Carter (1832-1907), mayor of Minden from 1891 to 1893; state representative for Webster Parish, 1878 to 1880
- McIntyre H. Sandlin (1870-1955), mayor of Minden from 1894 to 1896; state representative, 1896 to 1900, parish tax assessor, 1908-1937
- Abner Drake Turner (1877–1953), mayor of Minden from 1910 to 1916; one of the longest-serving mayors through 1916
- W. Matt Lowe, mayor of Minden from 1916 to 1920
- J. Berry Sandefur (1868–1954), mayor of Minden from 1920 to 1922
- Connell Fort, mayor of Minden from 1922–1926 and 1932–1934
- Henry L. Bridges, mayor of Minden from 1928–1932 and 1934–1936
- David William Thomas, mayor of Minden from 1936 to 1940
- John Calhoun Brown (1879–1964), interim mayor of Minden from 1942 to 1944
- J. Frank Colbert, mayor of Minden from 1944 to 1946 and state representative
- John T. David, mayor of Minden from 1946 to 1955
- Jasper Goodwill, mayor of Minden from 1955 to 1958
- Frank T. Norman, mayor of Minden from 1958 to 1966
- Jack Batton, mayor of Minden from 1978 to 1982, city council member (1946–1962 and 1966–1978)
- Others in alphabetical order
- Harmon Caldwell Drew, district attorney, district and circuit court judge
- R. Harmon Drew, Sr., city judge, state representative from 1972-1978
- Richard Cleveland Drew, district judge from 1882–1900; 1904–1911, and circuit court judge from 1911 to 1913
- Thomas Wafer Fuller, state senator from 1896-1900 and Webster Parish school superintendent from 1908-1920
- E.D. Gleason, state representative
- Mary Smith Gleason, interim state representative (tombstone included in E.D. Gleason article)
- Fred Haynes, LSU Tigers football star
- O. H. Haynes, Jr., Webster Parish sheriff from 1964 to 1980
- O. H. Haynes, Sr., Webster Parish sheriff from 1933 to 1952
- Herman "Wimpy" Jones, state senator from 1956 to 1960
- John Sidney Killen, state representative for Claiborne Parish in 1871
- J. Frank McInnis, district and circuit judge from 1930 to 1953
- John N. Sandlin, district attorney, state court judge, U.S. representative
- Nicholas J. Sandlin, district attorney, police juror, state representative, postmaster
- Ada Jack Carver Snell, short story writer
- E. L. Stewart, Minden lawyer and state representative from 1904 to 1908
- William G. Stewart, farmer, school board president, and namesake of the former William G. Stewart Elementary School in Minden
- Jimmy Upton, track and field athlete
- John T. Watkins, U.S. representative
- H. O. West, businessman
- B. F. Griffith, Sr., Webster Parish sheriff (1900–1908)
- Gladys Powell Hunter (1899-1973), first woman to serve on the Webster Parish School Board (1950-1962)
- Peggy Janice Staples (1933-2009), first woman to serve on the Minden City Council, elected 1978
- "Map of Minden Cemetery". maps.google.com. Retrieved May 30, 2011.
- "History of Cemetery at Minden: First Interment Occurred in Cemetery in 1840", Minden Signal Tribune and Springhill Journal, Historical Edition, April 30, 1971.
- John Agan, Webster Parish historian, "The Minden Cemetery: A look at the story behind the historical graves," Minden Press-Herald, November 1, 2005
- "Don't Miss the 2009 Ghost Walk". mindencemetery.blogspot.com, October 27, 2009. Retrieved May 31, 2011.
- Agan, John A. (2002), Minden: Perseverance and Pride, Arcadia Publishing, p. 35–6, ISBN 978-0-7385-2388-0
- "Dedication for unknown soldiers' graves Saturday". The Times. Shreveport, LA. March 25, 2008. p. A3. Retrieved June 11, 2011.
- Minden Cemetery records, Section A West.
- Welborn, Vickie (November 9, 2006). "Minden Ghost Walk: A living history lesson". The Times. Shreveport, LA. p. D1. Retrieved June 11, 2011.