Old Calvary Cemetery

Historical marker #1667 commemorates the Old Calvary Cemetery in Marion County. Many of the area's early settlers are buried at this location.

A large number of Kentucky's early settlers came from Virginia and Maryland. Many who came from Virginia were Presbyterians, while those from Maryland were primarily Catholic. Three early settlers, who arrived as early as 1778, were James and John Ray and Henry Prather, who settled in the western part of the county on Prather's Creek. In 1785, the Lancasters and Haydens settled in that section, and several of the Hayden family members moved to near Rolling Fork.

Thomas Hill and Phillip Miles came from Maryland in 1787 and settled north of the town near what is now St. Rose Pike. In about 1790, a colony of emigrants from Maryland settled around Rolling Fork. Among them were Robert Abell, Michael Fagan, John Hayden, Leonard Hamilton, Basil Hayden, Benedict Spalding, Francis Sims, John Wathen, and Raphael Winsatt. Benedict Spalding, Jr., established the town of Lebanon in 1813, and built the first store there. For more than forty years he was the town’s leading merchant. Thanks to his influence, the Louisville and Nashville Railroad built a line to Lebanon.

Among those buried in the Old Calvary Cemetery, later renamed the Holy Name of Mary Cemetery, are several Revolutionary War soldiers who hailed from Maryland. These include John Barton Abell, who died in 1820, Benedict Spalding who died in 1821, and Henry Hudson Wathen, who died in 1851. Another soldier-settler, Samuel Abell, died in 1795 before the Old Calvary Cemetery was created.