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History of cemetery on farm still mystery

WINCHESTER — In 1982, Mildred and Nathaniel Ragland showed up at Susan Skaggs' Old Boonesboro Road farm, asking to see their family cemetery.

"We went, 'What cemetery?' " Skaggs said recently. "This cemetery — you couldn't even find it for all the weeds."

The pioneer burial site was overgrown, the stone wall that surrounded it had fallen over time and cows had trampled on the four headstones that had stood there since Kentucky's earliest days.

For the last 26 years, Skaggs has killed weeds, laid mulch, and waited for a member of the Ragland family to return.

"We've been maintaining it all the years, but I wonder where all the Raglands are," she said. "I'd like to learn more about the Raglands."

Skaggs and her husband, Barry, do know a few details about the pioneer family that is forever connected to their farm.

Nathanial Ragland, born in Virginia in 1776, and his wife, Martha, are buried there. So are William H.C. Ragland, a son of S. and M.M. Ragland, and Nathaniel Ragland, a son of John and Jane Ragland. The first of the Ragland line to settle in Clark County was probably named James.

The research has made the current residents feel more connected to the family, even if they are not related. "It's just become part of who we are," Skaggs said.

Even though little has come of her search for information, Skaggs continues work on the cemetery. She put the rock wall back together by hand, repaired headstones and placed them where she thought they belonged, and this summer spread eight truck loads of mulch on the site.

The cemetery is a peaceful spot surrounded by trees, cooled by a constant breeze and overlooking the green hills of rural Clark County.

"It was probably a really beautiful view before the road was built," Skaggs said, as cars rolled down Old Boonesboro Road below.

The farm that was once home to the Ragland family now nurtures the Skaggs family. Skaggs and her husband live in the house her father once lived in, and their grandchildren are growing up just a few yards away in their daughter's home.

Skaggs hopes a descendant of the Raglands comes forward with more information about their history.

"I keep it (the cemetery) maintained," Skaggs said. "Not only is it part of our farm, they're part of history here."

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