A local family has placed a headstone at Riggs Family Center off Kentucky 1792 to honor their ancestors who died at a young age.

Alney Abney’s family made a promise to him before he died in 2000. The promise was to purchase a headstone for two of his sisters who died in the early 1900s.

“He had me promise him I’d oversee the graves for as long as I could,” said Dennis Vanover, Alney’s grandson. “I wanted to return the favor for everything he did for me.”

Before the headstone was placed, two cinder blocks with their names, dates and places of burial were located at the cemetery to mark their graves.

Ethel Abney, born in 1914, died in 1917 at the age of three, possibly from an icicle falling on her head. Sudie May Abney, born in 1902, died in 1913 at the age of 11 from typhoid fever, according to family member Tony Hayes.

Nancy Vanover, Alney’s daughter, said she remembered her dad talking about the headstone at an early age.

“I’m tickled to death that they wanted to do this for their grandfather even though he won’t be around to know about it,” Nancy said. “I’m proud the boys wanted to do this but I know they wish they could have done it when my dad was still living.”

Nancy said her father would always visit the cemetery and take care of the grounds. She said her father wanted to place a headstone for years, but money was always an issue.

“Tony and I had been out here to repaint the cinder blocks several times and we decided to replace it with a headstone,” Dennis said. “It’s what my granddad would have wanted.”

Nancy said they decided to put Alney’s name on the headstone so people would be able to know the girls were part of his family.

According to Dennis, it took one day to set the headstone with the help of his neighbor. The headstone purchase took less than a month.

(1) comment

Tony Hayes

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