(Photo taken May, 2001)
Only one grave exists in this cemetery.
This grave is located 2 miles north of Earle on Highway 149,
on the east side of the highway.
The following article appeared in a local newspaper, about 1884
“GUARDIAN ANGEL” ON NATIONAL REGISTER by Steve Watts
EARLE – Not many people can
show the world they have a guardian angel, but thanks to the National Register
of Historic Places the city of
“The guardian angel”, a statue that has stood watch over the grave of Rev. George Berry Washington for 65 years, has been nominated by the Arkansas Department of Arkansas Heritage as an historic site.
Washington, who died in
1928, was a former slave who went on to become one of
He also pastored a Baptist church and owned a commissary and a cotton gin.
The 13-foot statue and a short wall surrounding it were erected as a memorial by his wife and two daughters. It is isolated in a cotton field about 100 feet from Highway 149 where it sits atop a 10-foot Indian mound.
The epitaph on the monument was taken from a 19th Century gospel hymn and probably selected by Washington himself. It reads:
“Hallelujah! Tis Done.
I believe in the Son.
I am saved by the Blood of the Crucified One.”
Even without the nomination, “the guardian angel” has already become an attraction for passersby, even earning the attention of regional painter Carroll Cloar – whose painting of the statue “Angel in the Thorn Patch” has been exhibited by the Brooks Museum of Art.
If the statue is included on the National Register it can only make the angel with a flower in its hand even more recognized.
The following was taken from the "Earle Epic"
MEMORIAL TO GEORGE BERRY
It is often asked -- the 13 ft. statue of a white winged angel, holding a rose in her hand,
perched on a small old Indian mound in plowed field 35 ft. from the roadside about a mile north of Earle on Highway 149.
Berry Washington is buried there. He was
a preacher, farmer, ginner and owner of a country store. He owned several hundred acres of land. He was born
"Hallelujah! Tis done
I believe in the Son
I am saved by the blood
Of the crucified One"
The George Berry Washington family did not know when they marked the resting place of their husband and father on a lonely high mound that one day an eminent artist would capture the setting on canvas and display it along with his other works in prominent art showings. Carroll Cloar who also was a neighbor of George Berry, later entitled this work "Angel in the Thorn Patch".
that remains to mark the old
from "A History of
by Margaret Elizabeth Woolfolk
Berry Washington, one of
He started buying land in 1883
and by 1911 owned more than 1,000 acres.
He also had a store and cotton gin near his home.
Peter's Missionary Baptist Church, about 2.5 miles north of his home. He deeded five acres of land for the Gibson Bayou Cemetery.
Carroll Cloar, who has won
worldwide recognition as an artist, is a native of Earle and has used Earle
themes in many of his works. Some of his
paintings are in the permanent collection of the
© Deborah Lunsford Yates, 2000 - 2002
Last updated Wednesday, June 19, 2002, 11:29:48 PM CST