Tribune-Courier General Manager
The completion of an archaeological study by Dr. Kenneth Carstens has confirmed the burial of members of the John Warren Brandon family on property planned for a parking lot at the Children’s Arts Center in Benton.
Carstens said last week he has completed the field work portion of his study and confirms “earthly remains” buried on the site which was home to the Brandons in the mid 1800s.
Carstens said due to his findings, the Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) has mandated a 20-foot perimeter be made around the cemetery.
The city of Benton has hired the engineering firm of Farmer, Bacon and Workman of Paducah to redraw a small portion of of the development planned for a green space to allow for the cemetery to remain on the property marked by a monument honoring the family. The cemetery will also be registered through the Kentucky SHPO’s office in Frankfort.
“The human remains have been treated with dignity and once those remains have been documented, they will be returned to the Marshall County coroner who will see that (they) are reinterred in a manner that is respectful to the family descendants,” said Carstens.
Benton Mayor Steve Cary had said in an earlier interview descendants of the Brandon family had been supportive of honoring their ancestors through somehow altering the design of the green space to keep the graves on the property.
Carstens said he will be back at the site to monitor work to complete grading of the parking lot by the Marshall County Road Department once that work resumes.
He plans to submit his final report on his findings to city officials within four to six weeks of completion of that work.
“I have found while working on this project that everyone affiliated with the Marshall County Arts Council, and in particular George Milam, the city attorney, mayor, coroner, city planner, city clerk, among others, all have been extremely helpful and supportive of my research and field study, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their patience while work at the Art Center had been temporarily placed on hold,” said Carstens.
City officials hired Carstens in early September after archives of the Marshall County Genealogical Society documented evidence of several members of the Brandon family being buried on the property located at 12th and Elm streets.