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Copyright 1988-1998 Carl Early & Toni Early-Pritchard

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Houston-Gibson Family Cemetery

McLean Co., KY


Marshall D. (Doug) Early

The Houston-Gibson family cemetery is located on a former Houston estate at a point overlooking Green River, near Irwin's Landing.

The cemetery is accessible via two paved roads:

  1. Take route 136 northeasterly approximately 3.2 miles from it's junction with Calhoun's Main Street. Turn right on a farm road (the first paved throughfare after leaving Calhoun) and proceed to the Elias Evans farm which is situated on the left of the road a few hundred yards from Green River. Enter via the Evans yard and through cultivated fields to the wooded cemetery area.
  2. For an alternate route, turn at the street corner adjacent to the McLean County Courthouse and proceed approximately 3 miles on the paved road which roughly parallels Green River. At the junction with the paved road described in 1. above, turn left to the Evans farmhouses, the first buildings to be encountered on your right.

Evans family members have been exceedingly gracious in permitting access to the cemetery through their land, and will direct visitors to its location. (Of course, common courtesy dictates that we ask permission of some member of the Evans family.)

Little is presently known of the cemetery's origins, nor of it's legal status, if any. Indeed its legal status should be researched and resolved at the earliest opportunity, and certainly before any restoration work is undertaken.

What is at once evident to the visitor is the long neglect and criminal abuse suffered by this historic burial ground. Benign neglect alone could hardly account for the extensive damage to grave stones, and Elias Evans recounts an episode that may shed light upon this sad state of affairs. Evans recalls that wooded areas of the Houston estate were logged shortly before his family purchased the place. Newly cut stumpage in the cemetery suggested that it had also been logged, and Evans noted that numerous grave stones appeared to have been toppled and broken by felled trees, and that some stones obviously had been misplaced by log skidding.

While the marks of that vandalism can never be wholly erased, that is, some original stones can neither be repaired nor replaced, and those displaced by the skidders can never be precisely relocated, it still should be possible to restore the old cemetery to a semblance of order and integrity. It once occupied a venue of great natural beauty, and with a bit of tender, loving care it could shine once again.

So far as this writer can determine, the cemetery has been without care for more than 60 years; naturally, it has largely reverted to a wilderness state. The toppled stones have been buried under accumulated debris, making an exact inventory difficult. During October 1988, however, this writer undertook such an inventory, assisted by his brother, Carl Early of Mimbres, New Mexico; and by a cousin, Milton Daugherty of Owensboro, Kentucky. Together we located and identified markers for 29 burials. In addition, we found fragments of two other stones bearing no identifying data. It is possible, even likely, that a more diligent search will reveal still other markers.

Beyond the 29 markers inventoried, family sources hold that my great-Aunt Madeline Gibson is buried in an unmarked grave adjacent to the grave of my Great-Grandfather B.H. (Benjamin Houston) Gibson; therefore we have included that burial in our inventory, making a total of 30 known burials.

The earliest burial identified is that of Adam Shoemaker, in 1827. The latest, we believe, is that of Madeline Gibson, ca 1924.

Attached is a list of burials as identified in the October 1988 inventory, with information copied directly from the grave stones. Although most inscriptions remain legible, in a few instances they are so badly eroded that we have to resort to a "horseback guess."


John Houston, born Feb. 17, 1786, in Person Co., N.C.,

immigrated to Kentucky fall of 1805, settled Green River where he lived until his death July 15, 1854

Mary, wife of John Houston, born Apr. 22, 1786, died March 27, 1843

Sarah, daughter of John and Mary Houston, born June9, 1831, died Sept. 14, 1834. (Grave with ornamental iron fence.)

William Houston, born June 21, 1813, died June 28, 1845.

Estalla, wife of W. Houston, born May 28, 1818, died Oct. 21, 1849.

A.S. Houston, born 11-4-1819, died ___, aged 44 years, 10 months, 4 days.

Mary J., consort of A.S. Houston, born June 4, 1824, died Feb 25, 1865, age 40 years, 8 months, 21 days.

John, son of A.S. and M.J. Houston, born Jan. 9, 1852, died Aug. 22, 1853.

Ben Houston, born Dec. 24, 1824, died Sept. 15, 1868. (Stone bears Masonic emblem.)

Willie, son of B. and A. Houston, born Nov. 20, 1861, died Dec. 2, 1863.

Ally, son of J.L. and M.F. Houston, Jan. 16, 1865 - Sept. 7, 1869.

Maggie, daughter of G.G. and M.J. Houston, born Aug. 27, 1870, died March 3, 1879.

Infant daughter of G.G. and M.J. Houston, born and died April 1, 1869.


William H. Gibson, born Oct. 8, 1806, died April 27, 1882.

Mary, wife of W.H. Gibson, died Jan. 7, 1850, age 39 yrs., 6 mos., 1 day.

Wm. W. Gibson, died Jan 20, 1850, age 10 mos., 3 d.

B.H. Gibson, born in Daviess Co., Ky., Oct 6, 1844, married Mattie Smith in Daviess County Apr. 22, 1869. Died in said county April 3, 1887.

Vane, son of B.H. and Mattie Gibson, born Feb. 10, 1870, died Feb. 24, 1871.

Note: Unmarked grave immediately north of B.H. Gibson's is presumed to be that of Madeline Gibson, daughter of B.H. and Mattie Gibson. She died ca 1924.


Edmund M. Johnson, consort to Betsy Johnson, born Sept. 20, 1806, died Feb. 5, 1874.

Betsy Johnson, wife of Edmund Johnson, born July 31, 1811, died Aug 26, 1875.

Infant son of E.M. and Betsy Johnson, born Sept. 15, 1841, died Oct. 7, 1841.

William S. Johnson, born June 18, 1840, married to Dora A. Woodward Dec. 18, 1862, died March 25, 1863.

Mary J. Johnson, consort of A.S. Johnson, born July 4, 1824, died Feb. 25, 1865.

Lucy M. Johnson, born Feb. 25, 1846, died Oct. 3, 1869.


Adam Shoemaker, died in the 68th year, May 1, 1827.

Mary M., wife of Adam Shoemaker, died March 27, 1848, at the 62nd year of her age.


Infant of J.B. and S.M. Murphy, born Apr. 26, 1870, died Apr. 27, 1870.

Susan A. Plain, wife of Jessie I. Plain, born March 13, 1829, died July 8, 1851.

J.B. Kirkendall, died Dec. 11, 1832, aged 27 years, 9 months.

* Doug Early made one final journey to the family cemetery. He is now buried there.