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Benton Cemetery Overgrown With Grass, Mud and Trash

BENTON, Ark. - Driving through mud holes and branches, a scene out of an apparent jungle, only brings you to a sacred place.

"The place is over grown," says Jim Thompson. "There are 139 known, several unknowns."

Hughes Cemetery in Benton, off Richard Street near the Benton Animal Shelter, is ground zero for the 2009 Boy Scout's Eagle project.

"It's just a victim of time," says Thompson.

While years pass, so does the grass over nearly everything.

"The woods have just about took it back over and reclaimed what was there's 100 years ago," says Thompson.

Thompson wants to clean up the cemetery, which he says has been forgotten about.

He found it more than a year ago when he placed flags for two Confederate soldiers buried at the cemetery, that's also when he discovered tombstones vandalized.

"You can see two high-caliber bullets have been placed in that," says Thompson.

The first known burial at Hughes Cemetery was in 1880, the latest was in 2003.

"People quit coming here to clean period, letting it grow up like it did," says Thompson.

Deeper into the woods you get, the harder it is to see history.

"We just passed six [tombstones]," says Thompson. "And, you couldn't see them."

Thompson is working with the City of Benton to revitalize Richard Street so volunteers to can get to the land.

"To get into any place and do work you have to be able to get there," he says.

We attempted to find the cemetery's owner, the City of Benton says it has no record of someone owning it.

Thompson says he's trying to get volunteers to clean up the land, if you would like to help, he's asking people to connect with him on Facebook.

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