Manila family shows respect and honor

Wednesday, June 1, 2005
Family members take care of 21 gravesites at the Manila Cemetery. Pictured are, from left: Faye Walker, Nancy Modesitt, Charlene Bullock, Etta Cottrell, Mary Horn and Edith Nichols. (Town Crier photo/Revis Blaylock)

The children and other family members of the late Kitty and Bryan Moore have long cared for their family members gravesites. They took their care a step farther over the last couple months beautifying 21 gravesites in preparation for Memorial Day.

Mr. Moore purchased seven lots in the Manila Cemetery to make a family plot. Other family members are buried throughout the cemetery.

Moore's daughters, Mary Horn, Faye Walker, Edith Nichols and Charlene Bullock, along with the late Louise Parsley's daughter, and Nancy Modesitt, have worked together in the project.

The women praised Mrs. Nichols' husband, Billy, for all of the work he has done weed eating, mowing, and installing the shepherd's rods to hang the flowers.

Mrs. Horn made red, white and blue arrangements to hang on the shepard's rods and Mrs. Nichols and Ms. Bullock made arrangements to place on the other family member's graves. American flags were added to the five veteran members of the family.

Mr. and Mrs. Moore were early settlers of the Manila area. Mrs. Moore was born Nov. 6, 1910 and died March 15, 1990. Mr. Moore was born Sept. 1, 1902 and died March 1, 1974.

"They taught us to respect the cemetery," Mrs. Nichols said. "Our dad worked at the cemetery. When we were growing up our house was right next to the graveyard."

The family's roots in Manila go back one more generation to their grandmother, Lillie Belle Phillips. Mrs. Phillips is buried in one of the gravesites cared for with love by the family. Mrs. Phillips was born in 1875 and died in 1915.

Mrs. Phillips was left a widow with nine children. The story has been passed down how she loaded her children in a wagon, pulled by oxen, and moved to the Manila area in search of a better life for her children. She followed the Trail of Tears in her journey that brought them to Northeast Arkansas.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Phillips died at the age of 40 before she could see all of her children grown.

The children were adopted to different families. Young Kitty was adopted by U.V. Doc and Lena Lynch Crane. The Crane's resting place is another one the sisters tend to with loving care.

Mrs. Crane died in 1922 leaving Kitty an orphan for the second time in her young life. She was sent to an orphanage where she spent time in foster care until she was grown.

She had always kept in touch with her adopted grandmother, Mary Polina Kennedy, who had always encouraged her to return to Manila when she was old enough to leave the orphanage. Mrs. Kennedy's grave is another one tended by the sisters.

"She was a great grandmother to all of us," Mrs. Horn said.

The Moores did make their home in Manila and raised six children. Their only brother, Bryan Moore, Jr., lives in Tennessee. After Mrs. Moore raised her children, she started looking for her siblings that had lost contact after their mother passed away. She did find her brothers and sisters and had the opportunity to get together with some of them before she died.

Other family members graves cared for include: Louise Parsley (The Moore's oldest daughter); Richard and Nora Clevinger (Mrs. Moore's niece and husband); Clora Mae Smith (Mrs. Moore's sister); Carl W. Parsley (Louise's son); Rebecca and Danny Horn (infant children of Mary and Elwin Horn); Elwin Horn (Mary's husband); John H. Bullock (Charlene's husband) (Kenneth Ray Harrison (Charlene's son); Eugene Russell and Dall A. Walker (Faye's two husbands); R.C. Parsley (Louise's husband); Randall Butch Parsley (Mrs. Moore's grandson); Paul Modesitt (Nancy's husband); and Terry Dean Modesitt (Nancy's son).

"We are grateful for Janella Dunkin Caraway and her family for our cemetery," Mary and Charlene said. "It started with her dad, Riley Dunkin, who gave the first land to be used for our cemetery and more has been provided as needed."

The family wants to encourage others to take pride in the cemetery and work together to make it a beautiful place for all the loved ones buried there.

"Melvin Browning and R.J. Bennett, members of the cemetery board, and others have been working hard all month caring for the cemetery," Mrs. Horn said. "It hurts us to see our cemetery vandalized or disrespected in any way."

The women call tending to their loved ones gravesites a "labor of love." They all agree they take comfort from visiting their family members resting places.

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