Wooldridge Monuments - Mayfield, KY
Posted by: PharmD93
N 36° 44.967 W 088° 38.186
16S E 353914 N 4068327
Quick Description: Henry Wooldridge, American Folk Figure. He was a Civil War soldier who surround his family plot with statues of his family, childhood sweetheart, and hunting dog.
Location: Kentucky, United States
Date Posted: 9/26/2007 6:15:17 PM
Waymark Code: WM29CW
There can only be one place that a person could ever begin touring Maplewood Cemetery. The Wooldridge Monuments have long been one of Mayfield's Favorite Tourist Attractions. The monuments are located in the southwest corner of the cemetery. They have been dubbed as
"THE STRANGE PROCESSION WHICH NEVER MOVES"
The 18-figure group was erected in the late 1890's by Henry G. Wooldridge. He is the only person entombed on the lot. Colonel Wooldridge raised, raced, and sold horses in the Mayfield / Graves County area. He never married after his first and only love died in a riding accident years before in Tennessee. About 1880, as Col. Wooldridge neared 60 years of age, he moved to Mayfield, where he lived until his death on May 30, 1899. The group of monuments consist of two statues of Henry- one astride his favorite horse, Fop and another with him standing beside a lectern.
According to folklore, the Illinois Central Railroad supplied a special flatcar with "new-type air brakes" to transport from Paducah, KY to Mayfield the large statue of Col. Wooldridge astride his horse. It was told that Mayfield's "town drunk" happened to be in Paducah when the flatcar left for Maplewood Cemetery. The story goes that he climbed aboard the horse and rode behind Col. Wooldridge's statue to enter Mayfield in grand style.
The other life size statues depict his mother, Keziah, his brothers, Alfred, W.F., John, and Josiah. Also include are his sisters, Susan Neely, Narcissa Berryman, Minerva Nichols, plus his two nieces, Maud Reeds and Minnie Neely.
There is a story that the statue of Minnie, is Henry's childhood love who died in the riding accident. However, family records prove that Minnie was actually one of the Colonel's great-nieces.
There are also included in the grouping, two hunting dogs, Towhead and Bob, a fox, a deer, and the Colonel's vault.
Another story (which has never been verified) is the metallic casket which Henry had ordered from D.A. Saffold was too long to go inside the elaborate vault. Stone Masons had to be hurriedly called in to enlarge the vault on the day of Henry's burial.
An interesting bit of information brought to our attention by one of Henry's descendants (Sandy Joyner) is that there is no depiction or mention of Colonel Wooldridge's father Josiah in this unusual group of statues.
The Wooldridge Monuments are known across the country, partially due to the T.V. show "Ripley's Believe It or Not" which featured the monuments in one of its episodes in September 1984 and partially to the many stories which surround the monuments. The Wooldridge Monuments are probably Maplewood's largest attraction, but there are other interesting grave sites as well. In the 1890's the Graves County Confederate Veterans Association erected a monument which memorializes a young man, Henry Bascom Hicks. Hicks was killed by order of General E.A. Paine "on the streets of Mayfield, Kentucky" (quoting the inscription on the monument) in August of 1864. The 18 year old student, accused of being a spy, refused to be blindfolded as he faced his executioners, saying "I can look you in the eye"... (again, quoting one side of the monument). In 1990, Tilghman-Beauregard Camp No. 146-- sons of Confederate Veterans, had a new monument carved since the original was becoming faded.
Is Gravestone Showing Occupation or Hobby?: Both
What is depicted occupation or hobby?: Horses/Hunting
Date of birth: 01/29/1822
Date of death: 05/30/1899
Access hours and days:
Daylight Hours only!
Original picture of grave(nothing should be placed on grave stone).
Logs with pictures which are deemed to be inappropriate will be deleted.