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Wooldridge Monuments


The 18-figure group was erected in the late 1890's by Henry G. Wooldridge. He is the only person entombed on the lot. Colonel Wooldridge raised, raced, and sold horses in the Mayfield / Graves County area. He never married after his first and only love died in a riding accident years before in Tennessee. About 1880, as Col. Wooldridge neared 60 years of age, he moved to Mayfield, where he lived until his death on May 30, 1899. The group of monuments consist of two statues of Henry- one astride his favorite horse, Fop and another with him standing beside a lectern.

According to folklore, the Illinois Central Railroad supplied a special flatcar with "new-type air
brakes" to transport from Paducah, KY to Mayfield the large statue of Col. Wooldridge astride his horse. It was told that Mayfield's "town drunk" happened to be in Paducah when the flatcar left for Maplewood Cemetery. The story goes that he climbed aboard the horse and rode behind Col. Wooldridge's statue to enter Mayfield in grand style.

The other life size statues depict his mother, Keziah, his brothers, Alfred, W.F., John, and Josiah. Also include are his sisters, Susan Neely, Narcissa Berryman, Minerva Nichols, plus his two nieces, Maud Reeds and Minnie Neely.

There is a story that the statue of Minnie, is Henry's childhood love who died in the riding accident. However, family records prove that Minnie was actually one of the Colonel's great-nieces.

There are also included in the grouping, two hunting dogs, Towhead and Bob, a fox, a deer, and the Colonel's vault.

Another story (which has never been verified) is the metallic casket which Henry had ordered from D.A. Saffold was too long to go inside the elaborate vault. Stone Masons had to be hurriedly called in to enlarge the vault on the day of Henry's burial.

An interesting bit of information brought to our attention by one of Henry's descendants (Sandy Joyner) is that there is no depiction or mention of Colonel Wooldridge's father Josiah in this unusual group of statues.

The Wooldridge Monuments are known across the country, partially due to the T.V. show "Ripley's Believe It or Not" which featured the monuments in one of its episodes in September 1984 and partially to the many stories which surround the monuments.


 

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