the Linden Grove Cemetery photo tour)
In 1835, the Western Baptist Theological Institute purchased approximately
150-acres of land south of the City of Covington for the construction
of a major theological seminary. A college building and several homes
were constructed on this property.
The Institute laid out a small cemetery on a portion of their extensive
grounds. The cemetery was originally called the Cincinnati and Covington
Cemetery. By the early 1840s, the Craig Street Cemetery in Covington
was reaching capacity. The trustees of the Theological Institute saw
the expansion of their cemetery as a means to increase income for their
educational endeavors. Plans were developed to expand and improve the
cemetery. Ephraim Robbins was given the commission to design an extensive
cemetery that would serve the entire Covington area.
Following the construction of roads, a three-acre pond, and the planting
of many trees and shrubs, Linden Grove Cemetery (the new name for the
endeavor) was officially consecrated on September 18, 1843. Representatives
from the various Protestant churches of the city were in attendance.
The growth of the City of Covington eventually surrounded the cemetery.
Today the property is bordered by 13th, Kavanaugh and Linden Streets.
In 1858, the cemetery was sold to Samuel Walker, who continued to improve
the facilities. By that year, more than 2,000 burials had taken place
at Linden Grove.
The construction of Highland Cemetery in Ft. Mitchell in 1869 decreased
the number of burials at Linden Grove. By the 1920s, the cemetery was
in a dilapidated condition. Beginning in 1926, efforts were made to
improve and better care for the cemetery. In that year, Garfield Post
of the Grand Army of the Republic acquired a cannon for the cemetery.
In 1928, Richard C. Stewart, owner of the Stewart Iron Works, donated
$580 for improvements. He also directed four of his employees to spend
five weeks cleaning and repairing the property. The year 1928 also saw
the establishment of the Linden Grove Memorial Association. The group
was founded to provide funds for the general upkeep of the property.
By this time, there were few burials taking place at Linden Grove. In
1948, the cemetery was placed in receivership. At this same time, the
sexton was let go.
By the 1960s, the cemetery was overgrown with weeds and vandalism had
taken its toll. Vaults had been broken into, headstones overturned and
the grounds littered with trash. Only the work of Cemetery Superintendent
Edward V. Overbay kept the property from being completely abandoned.
Overbay was appointed to this position in the early 1960s. When Overbay
died in 1996, his son, Jonathon Overbay took over the duties as superintendent.
In 1974, the cemetery received a generous gift from the Commonwealth
of Kentucky. Under the leadership of Governor Wendell Ford, the state
allocated $25,000 for general maintenance and restoration. At about
that same time, the City of Covington and the Kenton County Fiscal Court
came to an agreement to provide funds for the upkeep of the cemetery.
Despite these additional sources of revenue, the budget barely covered
general maintenance. In order to cut costs, the three-acre pond on the
property was drained in 1981.
In the spring of 1998, an independent Linden Grove Cemetery Board was
established. Membership on the board included two individuals chosen
by the fiscal court, two by the City of Covington and one member at
Many prominent Northern Kentuckians are laid to rest at Linden Grove
Cemetery. Among the most notable is United States Congressman and former
U.S. Secretary of the Treasury John G. Carlisle. Other congressmen interred
in the cemetery include William Wright Southgate and William Evans Arthur.
Other notables who have resting places in Linden Grove include: Thomas
Kennedy, one of the founders of Covington; B.F. Howard, the founder
of the African American Elks; Alexander Greer, and early entrepreneur
in Covington; Asa Drury, first Superintendent of Covington Schools;
Dr. Adam Kelly, an early African American physician; Ephraim Robbins,
and early Trustee of the Western Baptist Theological Institute and namesake
for nearby Robbins Street; Reverend William Orr, an early Baptist preacher
in the community; Dr. Louise Southgate, a pioneer female physician and
women’s rights advocate and Isaac Martin, believed to be the first
white male born in Kenton County (1798-1883). The cemetery also serves
as the final resting place for veterans of the American Revolution,
War of 1812, Indian Campaigns, Civil War (both Union and Confederate
soldiers), Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II and the Korean
The original records of the cemetery are on file at the Kenton County
Public Library in Covington.
Cincinnati Post, June 25, 1981, p. 1B; Kentucky Post, August 1,
1974, October 14, 1996, p. 12A, November 5, 1997, p. 2K, December 5,
1997, p. 1K, April 10, 1998, p. 2K, May 31, 1999, p. 4K and August 16,
2001, p. 4K; Kentucky Enquirer, October 3, 1968