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FARMERVILLE: (Union Parish)

  • The Jewish Cemetery of Farmerville}: Located at the southwest corner of Francis and West Green Streets in Farmerville, seat of Union Parish in the North-Central portion of the state, on the banks of Lake D'Arbonne, not far south of the Arkansas border. At present (1995), Farmerville is a town of about 3,500 people. Only one Jewish family (Baughman) remains in Farmerville as practicing Jews, though several other families of Jewish descent remain in the town. The Jewish Community of Farmerville was at its height in the late 19th century when a number of German-Jewish families settled in the area. Most were merchants but there were a few planters, farmers, and lumbermen also. No synagogue was ever formally established at Farmerville, though services were occasionally held in the town during the High Holy Days and on other occasions. Most of the Jewish community there was affiliated with the Synagogue in Monroe, Louisiana. Today numerous reminders of the Jewish presence in Farmerville exist, such as names of businesses and the prominent positioning of the Jewish Cemetery (opposite and next to the Christian burial ground). "Edgewood," the rambling Queen Anne plantation home of the Baughman family (listed on the National Register of Historic Places) is located on Highway 2, just northwest of town. There is a small private cemetery on the "Edgewood" property where several other members of the Baughman family and their relatives by marriage, the Cohen and Jones families are supposedly buried.
    The Farmerville Jewish Cemetery is about a half-acre in size, but only contains sixty marked burials. The earliest date of burial is 1880, the most recent is 1994/ (Mary Jane Baughman, whose name shares her husband, Lazarus Brunner Baughman's stone, is still living as of this writing). The Jewish Cemetery has no surrounding fence. An alley running north to south bisects the cemetery's center. Graves are arranged in parallel rows on either side of this alley and parallel to it. At the south end a stand of large trees separates the Jewish Cemetery from the newest section of the Christian cemetery. A thickly vine-covered chicken-wire fence along the western side separates the Jewish Cemetery from part of the Negro Cemetery of Farmerville. Across West Green Street is the other part of the Negro Cemetery and the old Farmerville Cemetery, dating from about 1850 or shortly before. Tthe old Farmerville Cemetery contains the graves of a few Christian spouses of persons buried in the Jewish Cemetery. At least one Jewess, a daughter of the Hartman family, is buried there also. It is separated from the old Negro Cemetery by a 19th century cast iron fence about 3 feet in height. Across Francis Street from the Jewish Cemetery is the new Christian Cemetery. All told, the entire group of burial grounds covers an approximately 5-acre area with the Jewish Cemetery nearly central.
    Note: The number of persons buried in the Farmerville Jewish Cemetery who were not Jews is unknown. Several may have converts; however at least three persons buried here are not: Mary Gunter Baughman (wife of Michael Stein Baughman), and Steletta W. Hartman (wife of Leo Hartman, who was born Jewish but converted). The Hartmans are buried with Mr. Hartman's Jewish ancestors nevertheless. It appears that in the early days of the community non-Jews were prohibited from being buried in the Jewish Cemetery. As the community's numbers dwindled, however, this rule was gradually abandoned. Nevertheless, most burials here are of practicing Jews. None are buried here who were not directly and intimately connected with Judaism, either through marriage or by lineal descent. Source: Eric J. Brock, Historic Preservation & Planning Consulting, P.O. Box 5877 Shreveport, LA 71135-5877 (318) 797-6765, This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 
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