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History beneath Rover's Simpson Cemetery

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On a picturesque hill in the small rural community of Rover in Bedford County, sits a peaceful resting place for over 1,000 souls called the Simpson Cemetery. Long-time Rover resident Bobbie Sue Lonas says she believes people should be educated on such histories behind local cemeteries.

The research of the Simpson Cemetery is ongoing and incomplete at this time, but she says hopefully it will be beneficial in the future for all who have family members interred there. To honor those family members, a memorial decoration is held each year on the fourth Sunday in May.

This year, Simpson Cemetery Decoration will be held 2 p.m. Sunday. Those connected to the cemetery who might have any additional information to share are asked to contact Lonas at bobbielonas@att.net.

"Although the cemetery is not extremely large in size, it has been the burying ground for families since the early 1800's," Lonas said.

The first known burial that has been found is that of John C. Fulmer, who was born in 1812 and died in 1815. Three siblings of John were also some of the first known burials in Simpson Cemetery. His sister, Sabra, was twelve years old when she was buried in 1823 and his sister, Nancy, was born in 1816 and was buried at the age of 8 in 1824."

The brother, James, was born in 1826 and died when he was 2 years old in 1828. "All four children's graves are together in the oldest part of the cemetery. Although the parents' graves could not be located, they are believed to be those of the several older graves that are marked only by field stones. At the time of their deaths, the place of their burials was possibly just an open field."

***How it all began

In 1830, Rebecca Simpson from Williamson County purchased 50 acres in the Rover community from James Thompson. In 1836, she purchased an additional 100 acres believed to be attached to the previous acres purchased.

"This land is still in the Simpson family to this day. Rebecca was buried on this farm land when she died in 1867. This plot of ground was later given as a burial ground for the Rover community. Through the years, additional land has been donated by the Simpson family for the expansion of the cemetery with the latest donation being after the deaths of Milton and Jane Simpson by their daughters."

In researching the history of Simpson Cemetery, approximately 60 known military personnel have been found to be buried there. Approximately 52 of the graves are marked at their feet with a military marker in addition to the traditional tombstone at their head.

"Some of the military service men fought as soldiers in our wars and some made the military their profession."

The earliest known military burials date back to the Civil War. The four known soldiers from the Civil War are Isaac Samuel Wright B. 1843 D. 1927, John W. Chambers B. 1839 D. 1888, John Landrum Jackson B. 1846 D. 1909 and William Mabry Tucker B. 1838 D. 1921.

"In additional to the four Civil War soldiers, service men from all military branches that fought in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War are buried there. Some of the service men were not involved in actual combat during wartime, but served in our military during peace time."

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