LITTLE FIR – Little Fir Cemetery stands waist deep in grass in places as the cemetery board of directors struggle to get Quapaw House, Inc. to keep their agreement to maintain the grounds at the cemetery.
According to members of the cemetery’s board of directors Quapaw House agreed to maintain the cemetery as part of a deal to acquire property owned by Clara Dunston. According to public record information obtained from actdatascout, Quapaw House Inc. was deeded 23.98 acres of property, which includes a structure, in 1999.
While the cemetery does not sit on the property owned by Quapaw House, the agreement for them to maintain Little Fir Cemetery was a part of their agreement. The agreement was verified in 2014 in a court ruling regarding the case.
Dunston attempted to reclaim the property legally in 2014, but her request was denied by Judge Jerry Ryan.
In the Order After Hearing ruling Judge Ryan writes, “The personal property of Mrs. Dunston’s daughter may remain on the property as provided in Paragraph Four of the contract. Additionally, all other provisions of the 1999 contract between the parties shall remain in effect. As well as the 2008 agreement regarding Little Fir Cemetery.”
It also reads, “The quite Title is subject to Quapaw and their successors and assigns obligations to maintain the cemetery perpetuity as well as Mrs. Dunston’s right to occupy the storage building.”
Raymond Young, a former president of the Little Fir Cemetery Board of Directors, stated that the board has reached out to Quapaw House numerous times to get the cemetery mowed with little response. Young shared that as far as he knows Quapaw House has only sent someone out to mow once. The gentleman’s equipment wouldn’t work and he left without mowing.
Ann Frazier, a current board member and former president, stated that they have tried all summer to reach someone at Quapaw House before being told to contact their lawyer. She said that when they contacted their lawyer they were told he was out of town.
A visit last week to the cemetery confirmed the claims of the cemetery board members. Grave markers and tombstones peek out from large overgrown clumps of grass throughout the cemetery. Grass stands waist deep in some areas with walking impeded due to small markers hidden in the grass.
While the cemetery is a community cemetery, it also is home to several relocated markers from the Buckville area. The flooding of the Buckville area to create Lake Ouachita precipitated the moving of remains to Little Fir Cemetery.
Frazier stated that she had paid to repair and extend a fence along the border of the cemetery. She pointed out that the cemetery board of directors reimbursed her, but she feels this should have been Quapaw House’s responsibility as well.
Board members have stated all they want is for Quapaw House to maintain the property as agreed upon so families can safely visit their loved ones when they want.
Frazier shared that there is one gentleman who drives from Hot Springs Village regularly to visit his wife’s grave side. He is one of many who have to wade through tall grass to visit their loved ones at the cemetery.
The Montgomery County News was able to make contact Monday, August 26, with Quapaw House for comment. No official response has been made at this time.