Fernwood Cemetery

Historical Marker #1926 in Henderson County commemorates Fernwood Cemetery, the final resting place of several prominent Kentuckians.

Lazarus Powell was born in Henderson County in 1812. Powell graduated from St. Joseph's College in Bardstown before studying law at Transylvania. Admitted to the bar in 1835, the following year Powell was elected to the Kentucky House. Defeated for reelection, Powell also lost his 1848 run for governor. Three years later, however, he defeated his close friend and law partner, Archibald Dixon, and became governor. Powell eventually served in the U.S. Senate, where he favored Kentucky's neutrality during the early stages of the Civil War. He died on July 3, 1867, and was buried in Fernwood Cemetery. Powell County is named in his honor.

John Young Brown was born Elizabethtown, Kentucky, in 1835. It was marriage that brought him to Henderson; in 1860, Brown married Archibald Dixon's daughter, Rebecca. Three years later they moved to Henderson, her hometown. Brown was elected to the U.S. House twice, but was not seated. In 1859, he was elected but did not meet congress's age requirement. The second time, he was accused of disloyalty to the Union and was denied the seat. Finally, in his third election, Brown was seated in the House in 1873. He won the 1891 governor's race by 28,000 votes to become the second Kentucky governor from Henderson. He died in 1904 and was buried in Fernwood Cemetery.

Archibald Dixon was born in North Carolina in 1802, but his family moved to Henderson three years later. After being admitted to the bar in 1824, Dixon was elected to the state legislature in 1830. Fourteen years later he became lieutenant governor. Dixon was also a member of the 1849 Kentucky Constitutional Convention. Although he ran for the governor's office twice, he was never elected to the position. During his time in the U.S. Senate, Dixon remained loyal to the Union cause, and was active in Reconstruction efforts. He died April 23, 1876.

Mary Towles Sasseen is credited for creating the first Mother's Day celebration. She was born in Henderson in 1860, where she developed a strong relationship with her mother. In 1887, as a schoolteacher, Sasseen led her students in the first observance of Mother's Day. She then began a campaign to get Mother's Day recognized as a national holiday. While a Pennsylvania woman was ultimately responsible for getting Mother’s Day recognized on the national level, a Boston businessman discovered Sasseen to be the "mother of Mother's Day." The Kentucky legislature concurred, and, in 1926, passed a resolution acclaiming Sasseen as the "originator of the idea of Mother's Day celebration." She died in 1906.