Vinson said that the grave washed out of a hillside near Lake Barkley due to rising waters from recent rains and the damming of the Cumberland River. “What happened was that the casket eroded out of the bank and was discovered by some guys hunting arrowheads. They contacted Charlie Morris, Kim Fortner and David Sumner who have been researching Trigg County Cemeteries who in turn contacted me.”
According to the Grace’s headstone, Grace died at age six, on May 21, 1858 after his birth on August 17, 1851. Vinson said that County Judge/Executive Stan Humphries donated the equipment and labor to rebury the cast iron coffin in which the boy originally rested. The headstone noted that William’s parents were W.D. and Sarah Grace.
The elder Grace worked in Trigg County in a variety of occupations, including pork packing, merchandise and commissions and hotel keeping, though his main occupation was farming, according to “The History of Trigg County” by William Henry Perrin in 1884. At the height of success, W.D. Grace’s farm covered 1,300 acres. William’s mother Sarah, originally of Virginia, was W.D. Grace’s third wife. A child by W.D. Grace’s first marriage, John R. Grace became County Judge and Judge for the Second Judicial District.
Vinson called the coffin unusual, speculating that it might be produced in the area. Morris added that he thought it might have been produced in Trigg Furnace, which was down the Cumberland River at the time of Grace’s death.
For the rest of this story, read this week's Cadiz Record.