From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Greenwood Cemetery / Cove Haven Cemetery (Lexington, KY)

(start date: May 15, 1907) 

Greenwood Cemetery and Realty Company 1907-1942

This second-oldest burial site in Lexington, KY was organized and managed by African Americans Edward Chenault, Jordan C. Jackson, Jr., William H. Ballard, John E. Hunter, Henry A. Tandy, Marshall T. Clay, Robert F. Bell, John B. Caulder, Pherril L Parrish, Zachariah H. Jones, Samuel Underwood, Charles H. Yancey, George Russell, and Henry Turner.

They formed a stock company with an initial offering of 1,225 shares at ten dollars per share to finance the Greenwood Cemetery and Realty Company. They filed Articles of Incorporation in Lexington May 15, 1907 and with the Secretary of State on June 28, 1907.[1]

The cemetery was formed from lots number 14 and 15 of the Bradley Subdivision, which was platted in 1907. At the time, the development was just outside the city limits.[2] R.H. Tacklin, a landscape architect, was hired to design and landscape the 16 acres  prior to its official opening May 3, 1908.[3]

Greenwood Cemetery 1942-1984

By resolution in 1942, 'the Realty Company' was dropped from its official name. The annual meeting was changed from the third Monday in May to the third Tuesday in January.[4]

Cove Haven Cemetery 1985 to present

In 1985, the corporation reorganized when they filed as a Kentucky non-profit under the name Cove Haven Cemetery. [5]

Organizers are listed on a tablet at the right of the front gate.

The Cemetery holds the remains of:

Ellen Davis and Margaret Pryor, millionaires

Morgan and Marvin Smith, photographers

Atlas C. Burnett, agriculture extension agent

Dr. Mary Ellen Britton, Dr. Thomas T. Wendell, Dr. William Henry Ballard, Dr. William Dinwiddie, Dr. John Knox Polk, Dr. John E. Hunter, Dr. Harriet Marble, and other medical professionals

Bell Jackson and other founders, organizers, and trustees of the Colored Orphan Home

Officers and members of the original Agriculture and Mechanical Fair of Colored People and its successor, the Lexington Colored Fair  

Raleigh Colston, Jr., Marshall Lilly, Courtney Mathews, William Perkins, John Henry Buckner, and others who were jockeys, trainers, stud grooms, and owners of thoroughbreds

Whitney Young, Sr., President of Lincoln Institute

Henry A. Tandy, Horace R. Hogan, and others who were building contractors

Green P. Russell, Henry L. Graves, John B. Caulder, Sadie Yancey, Paul V. and Lucy H. Smith, and other educators

Ministers of all denominations

Entrepreneurs/Business owners

John B. Snowden, E.L. Cunningham, postal service employees

Saunders “Smoke” Richardson, Ruby L. King, Georgia Barkley Gomez, Charles Quillings, and other musicians and vocalists

Over 500 male and female military veterans from the Civil War to the Gulf War

Owned and managed by a volunteer board, the cemetery is still accepting burials. The hours of operation year-round are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.


[1] Kentucky Articles of Incorporation. June 28, 1907. Greenwood Cemetery and Realty Company. Book 33, 365, Box 225, Bundle 13.

[2] Bradley Subdivision. February 23, 1907. Plat Book #1, 145. Fayette County Clerk.

[3] Lexington Leader. April 19, 1908. Greenwood Cemetery: New Burying Ground for Colored People of Lexington & Vicinity.

[4] Articles of Incorporation. January 20, 1942. Greenwood Cemetery. Book 14, 593, 594. Fayette County Clerk.

[5] Articles of Incorporation. September 12, 1985. Cove Haven Cemetery. Book 130, 526,527. Fayette County Clerk.

Submitted September 15, 2021

Revised December 1, 2021

By Yvonne Giles

See also Yvonne Giles, "African American Burials: Fayette County’s Storied Past," Ace Magazine, 4/26/2007.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Fayette County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lexington, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Greenwood Cemetery / Cove Haven Cemetery (Lexington, KY),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed July 18, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-09-08 17:02:38