Cemeteries, Early Louisiana

The oldest cemetery in Baton Rouge

An archway leads to a bench and a grouping of graves in Historic Highland Cemetery.

Highland Cemetery isn’t one of those flashy graveyards with giant mausoleums or serene statues. The graves here are crumbling and lie tucked away in a neighborhood near the roar of Tiger Stadium. The veterans buried here tend to have fought in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. By the time the Civil War swept into Louisiana, Highland Cemetery had been forgotten.

Today, the cemetery soldiers on with the help of history enthusiasts who are giving it the due it deserves as Baton Rouge’s oldest cemetery. The cemetery sits on the Highland Ridge, an area settled by Germans and Acadians through Spanish land grants (according to a helpful sign in the cemetery). The settlers’ surnames included Adams, Anglehart, Babin (related!), Daigre (related!), Garig, Hillen, Landry (related!), Kleinpeter (as in the dairy people, I assume) and Sharp (as in Sharp Road, I assume).

Few of the graves are legible. Someone’s added markers to some of them to explain who’s buried there.

The cemetery dates to 1813, when a landowner named George Garig gave a piece of his property to the community. This was common for settlers with an abundance of land. People had to be buried somewhere, and George had all that property and he wasn’t even farming all of it (which is how I’d imagine the gentle prodding went). The fact that it wasn’t consecrated must have weighed on George’s mind because less than a decade later he asked the Catholic Church to take ownership of the cemetery. In 1825, George would be laid to rest in the now consecrated cemetery that he carved out for the community.

Although technically owned by the Catholic Church, the little cemetery was always too far from the nearest place of worship to be tended to or even used much by the church. The cemetery was a family affair with relatives and friends attending to the loved ones buried there.

Look! A marker I can actually read.

The cemetery’s religious issues didn’t end with Garig’s death. Half of his plantation was purchased by a Protestant named Robert Penny. Penny took a piece of land adjacent to the cemetery and turned it into a Protestant cemetery since it wouldn’t do to get buried in land consecrated for Catholics. Now a corner of the cemetery is known as the Protestant section.

Newspaper articles reveal other notables buried in the cemetery:

Josephine Favrot, whose sweetheart, Louis de Grand Pre, who was the only casualty when the Fort of Baton Rouge fell in 1810. Josephine never married and became a poet.

Jean Baptiste Kleinpeter, who served with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans.

Charles Daniel Comeaux, who had the great misfortune of flinging his cap onto his bedpost after coming home from the battle at Port Hudson. A stray bullet hit the cap, ricocheted and killed him while he slept.

This gazebo was built in memory of the lost graves.

A huge change for the cemetery came in the 1920s, when the College Town neighborhood was built. Someone conveniently forgot to include the cemetery on the subdivision plans. Of the 280 people buried in the cemetery, 100 are underneath a sprawling house.

The cemetery once extended all the way to Amherst Avenue.As houses were built, half of the cemetery disappeared.

A 1940 survey map shows the cemetery is half the size it was nearly a century ago. The cemetery once stretched all the way to Amherst Avenue. Oops.

Today, the cemetery is a pleasant place to spend a spring afternoon. There are benches for sitting, trees for shade and a gazebo for an impromptu concert. You can be Catholic or Protestant to enjoy the peace before venturing back into the insanity that is Baton Rouge traffic.

Here’s a list of burials and possible burials from the History Highland Cemetery Inc.:

Confirmed Burials

Aubin, Aurelius Victorin, s/o Victorin, 1850 – 1885, no marker
Aubin, Elizabeth, w/o Victorin, 1825 – 1858, no marker
Aubin, Victorin, s/o Francois, 1825 – 1880, no marker
Aucoin, Albert Florestin, C.S.A., s/o J. Florentin, 1821 – 1863, no marker
Aucoin, J. Florentin, s/o Pierre Firmin, 1798 – 1847, no marker
Aucoin, Julia Zeolide Doiron, w/o A.F., 1831 – ___, no marker
Babin, Balthazar, s/o Gregoire, 1814 – 1884, no marker
Babin, Martha Buckner, 1824 – 1884, w/o Balthazar, no marker
Brackin, “Nettie” Brunetta Stokes, w/o Albert D., 1868 – 1894, no marker
Buckner, George W., s/o Lewis, h/o Margaret Phillips, 1822 – 1855, no marker
Buckner, Susannah, d/o Margaret Buckner, ? – 1857, no marker
Comeaux, Charles Daniel, 1817 – 1892, no marker
Comeaux, Charles Daniel, War of 1812, 1787 – 1850, no marker
Daigre, Alfred Huguet, s/o Denis Daigre, Junior, 1880 -1891, no marker
Daigre, Benjamin M., hsb/o Pauline Daigre, 1836 -1914, no marker
Daigre, Carmelite Daigre, d/o Paul, w/o Olivier Francois, 1796 – 1855, no marker
Daigre, Denis Olivier, s/o Olivier Francis, 1820 – 1875, no marker
Daigre, Denis Olivier, Jr., 1853 – c1917, no marker
Daigre, Genevieve Buckner, w/o Denis O., Sr. 1821 – ?, no marker
Daigre, Gordon, s/o Benjamin M., ? – 1912, no marker
Daigre, Josie Huguet, d/o John S. Huguet, 1860 – 1884, no marker
Daigre, Mary Martha, d/o Denis & Genevieve, 1855 – 1858, no marker
Daigre, Olivier Francois, s/o Francois, 1793 – 1843, no marker
Daigre, Pauline Daigre, w/o Benjamin M., ? – 1886, no marker
Daigre, Victor Templet, s/o Denis O. Sr., 1857 – ?, no marker
Davis, Elizabeth Sharp, w/o Ersin Slaughter & Wm. Davis, ? – 1825, no marker
Doiron, Henrietta Malvina, d/o J.V., 1847 – 1887, no marker
Doiron, John Villeneuve, s/o John Remi, 1821 – 1879, no marker
Duke, William Ensley, infant of Wiley, 7 mo., 1921 – 1921, no marker
Duplantier, Armand Allard, Continental Army, War of 1812, 1753 – 1827, marker
Duplantier, Augustin, s/o Armand, 1806 – 1860, no marker
Duplantier, Constance Rochon, w/o John Joyce & Armand Duplantier, 1766 – 1841, marker
Duplantier, Didier, s/o Armand, 1809 – 1834, marker
Duplantier, Fergus, War of 1812, s/o Armand, 1783 – 1844, marker
Duplantier, Guy, War of 1812, s/o Armand, 1790 – 1835, no marker
Duplantier, Joseph, s/o of Alberic, 1844 – 1884, no marker
Duplantier, Josephine Joyce, w/o Fergus, 1791 – 1859, marker
Duplantier, Matilda Brown, 2nd w/o Alberic, 1844 – ?, no marker
Duplantier, Nicholas Alberic, s/o Armand, 1806 – 1891, no marker
Edmonston, Lillie E. Aucoin, w/o J. Walter, 1861 – 1893, no marker
Favrot, (unnamed), s/o Louis, 1824 -1824, marker
Favrot, Augustine Eulalie Duplantier, w/o Louis, 1799 – 1864, marker
Favrot, Aurore, d/o Bouvier & Aurora, 1832 – 1911, marker
Favrot, Eulalie Pulcherie, d/o Pierre, 1803 – 1846, no marker
Favrot, Francoise Gerard, w/o Pierre, 1763 – 1842, marker
Favrot, Henri Bouvier, s/o Pierre, War of 1812, 1799 – 1881, marker
Favrot, Henry Neuville, s/o Bouvier, 1835 – 1847, marker
Favrot, Josephine, d/o Bouvier, 1840 – 1913, marker
Favrot, Josephine, d/o Pierre, 1785 – 1836, marker
Favrot, Louis Stephen, s/o Pierre, War of 1812, 1788 – 1872, marker
Favrot, Marie Aurora Villers, w/o Bouvier, 1809 – 1877, marker
Favrot, Octavine, d/o Bouvier, 1848 – 1939, marker
Favrot, Octavine C., d/o Pierre, 1795 – 1868, marker
Favrot, Philogene Bernard, s/o Bouvier, 1845 – 1852, marker
Favrot, Philogene Joseph, s/o Pierre, USA:  War of 1812. 1791 – 1822 ( His government marker is mislabeled “T.R. Favrot”), marker
Favrot, Pierre Joseph, Galvez Expedition of 1779, LA Legislature, 1749 – 1824, marker
Foreman, John C., hsb/o Nancy Garig, 1806 – 1870, marker
Foreman, John M., infant s/o Oscar H., 1862 – 1870, marker
Foreman, John M., s/o John C. & Nancy, C.S.A., 1838 – 1905, no marker
Foreman, Linda F., d/o Oscar H., 1863 – 1866, marker
Foreman, Nancy Garig, d/o George Garig, w/o John C., 1812 – ?, no marker
Foreman, Oscar Heady, Jr., 1868 – 1872, marker
Foreman, Oscar Heady, Sr., 1833 – 1905, no marker
Foreman, Therese Addie Rowley, w/o Oscar H., 1840 – 1913, no marker
Fortin, Adele Duplantier, w/o Joseph J.G. George Fortin, no dates, no marker
Garig, George, s/o Adam, h/o Mary Barbara Thomas, ? – 1825, no marker
Garig, Guilliame, s/o George, 1815 – ?, no marker
Garig, Henrique, s/o George, 1798 – ?, no marker
Garig, Juan, s/o George, 1795 – ?, no marker
Garig, Maria, d/o George, 1801 – ?, no marker
Germany, Aurelia Ann Foreman, w/o Henry James, 1833 – 1898, marker
Hodges, Aurelius B., s/o I.B.A. Hodges, 1832 – 1854, marker
Huguet, John Stephen, M.D., s/o Juan, C.S.A., 1825 – 1891, no marker
Huguet, Mary Elvira Kleinpeter, w/o John S., 1832 – 1899, no marker
Huguet, William Pike, s/o John S., 1852 – 1853, no marker
Joyce, William, s/o John, c 1790 – 1846, marker fragment
Kleinpeter, Andrew, s/o Joseph, 1801 – 1853, marker
Kleinpeter, Benjamin Franklin, s/o John Bapt. & Rose, 1845 – 1858, memorial marker
Kleinpeter, John Baptiste, s/o George, 1797 – 1861, no marker
Kleinpeter, John J., infant s/o Andrew, 1847 -1847, marker
Kleinpeter, John L., s/o Joseph, c 1797 – 1837, no marker
Kleinpeter, Mary Rose Bouillion, w/o John Baptist, 1805 – 1878, no marker
Kleinpeter, Oscar Andrew, s/o Andrew, 1844 – 1858, marker
Kleinpeter, Zachary Pinckney, s/o Andrew, 1849 – 1857, no marker
Lener, Mary, 1887 – 1888, no marker
Lopez, Anna Euphemie, d/o Joseph Onieda, 1879 – 1884, no marker
Lopez, Henri, s/o Joseph Onieda, 1875 – 1876, no marker
Lopez, Joseph Onieda, s/o Joseph Adonis, 1845 – 1896, no marker
Lundquest, William, no dates, no marker
Lundquest, John, no dates, no marker
Maurison, Mary V., 1871 – 1885, no marker
McGehee, Ann Scott, d/o Abraham & Mary C., 1831 – 1836, marker
McGehee, Mary C., 1809 – 1836, marker
Neilson, Capt. John James, s/o James, U.S.A., ? -1813 at Baton Rouge Fort, no marker (1st husband of Pauline Gras)
Neilson, James, h/o Elizabeth, f/o Capt. John, ? – 1831, no marker
Parker, Nan Pecue, d/o John Pecue, w/o Mack Parker, no dates, no marker
Pecue, (Picou, Picaud), John Baptiste Jr., h/o Odile & Victoria Aucoin, 1829 – 1905, no marker
Pecue, Odile Elizabeth Aucoin, w/o John, 1835 – 1865, no marker
Peniston, Anthony, hsb/o Euphemie Duplantier, c 1800 – 1826, marker
Peniston, Euphemie Duplantier, w/o Anthony, 1804 – 1826, marker
Penny, Matilda G., w/o Burns & Robert Penny, ? – 1846, no marker
Penny, Robert H., s/o James, ? – 1849, no marker
Phillips, Isabella Foreman, w/o Albert, no dates, no marker
Phillips, Plaisant, Jr., 1838 – 1859, no marker
Phillips, Plaisant, Sr., husb/o Elizabeth Babin, ? – 1845, no marker
Phillips, Theodore, s/o Plaisant Sr., 1845 – 1861, no marker
Piker, Fluvia, d/o John F., c 1864 – ?, no marker
Piker, John F., s/o Frederick, 1817 – 1869, partial marker
Piker, Mary C. Foreman, w/o John F., 1830  – 1903, memorial marker
Pilant, George Zitzman, s/o Wm. Jr., 1912 – ca 1920, no marker
Pilant, Sarah Clair, d/o Wm. Jr., 1909 – ca 1920, no marker
Pilant, Marie Julia LeBlanc, w/o Wm. Sr., 1837 – 1920, no marker
Pilant, William Sr., ? – 1899, no marker
Randolph, Catherine Kleinpeter, w/o John, 1786 – 1847, marker
Randolph, Ellen M. Smith, w/o George, 1834 – 1856, marker
Randolph, John, s/o John, 1818 – 1856, marker
Randolph, John, War of 1812, 1777 – 1837, marker
Riviere, Anne Marie Renee Aime Douezan, w/o Jean Baptiste Riviere, 1766 – 1849, marker
Roberts, Constance Kleinpeter, w/o Gilbert Comeaux & Stephen Roberts, d/o George Kleinpeter, ? – 1851, no marker
Kleinpeter, George, ? – 1851, no marker
Smith, Jacob, 1814 – 1857, no marker
Smith, Mary Barbara Thomas, w/o Jacob, 1813 – 1872, no marker
Staring, Kathryn J. Hillman, 1st w/o George H. Staring, 1870 – 1898, memorial marker
Stokes, James, s/o William & Nettie, 1872 – 1903, marker
Stokes, Sidney, s/o William & Nettie, 1878 – 1896, marker
Stokes, William, s/o Alexander & Virginia, 1873 – 1912, C.S.A., marker
Stokes, Willie F., s/o William & Nettie, 1870 – 1896, marker
Thomas, Antoinette Caroline, d/o Jefferson P., ? – 1857, marker
Thomas, Buffington J., s/o Jefferson P., no date, marker
Thomas, Elizabeth, widow/o Benj. Parker Thomas, d/o Gen. Philemon Thomas, mother/o Jefferson P., ? – 1841, no marker
Thomas, Florence, d/o Jefferson P., ? – 1857, marker
Thomas, William E., s/o Jefferson P., no dates, marker
Trousdale, Kleinpeter, Randolph, Mary Catherine, w/o Andrew Kleinpeter, 1822 – abt. 1874

Unconfirmed And Possible Burials

Aucoin, Elizabeth Verdon, w/o J. Florentin, no dates
Bills, John A., husb/o Mary Garig, ? – 1841
Bills, Mary Garig, w/o John A., c. 1812 – 1860
Comeaux, Florestine Sylvannie Tullier, w/o Chas. D. Jr., 1825 – ?
Comeaux, Mary Carmelite Hebert, w/o Chas. D. Sr.
Daigre, Francis Paul, s/o Denis O. Daigre, Sr.,  1850 – 1892
Daigre, Jean Baptiste Bouvier, s/o Olivier, c 1810 – 1840
Daigre, Mrs. Mary C., w/o Gilbert, ? – 1879
Davis, William, War of 1812, h/o Elizabeth Sharp, ? – c.1825
Doiron, Alzie Daigle, w/o Francis G., ? – c.1910
Duplantier, Marguerite Mary Lopez, w/o Augustin, 1815 – ?
Edmonston, J. Walter, C.S.A., husb/o Lillie E. Aucoin
Fulton, Helene de Grand Pre, d/o Gov. Carlos de Grand Pre, 1782 – 1855
Fulton, Col. Samuel, husb/o Helene, ? – c.1827
Garig, Elizabeth, d/o George & Mary B., c.1809 – ?
Garig, George, s/o George & Mary B., 1807 – 1868, C.S.A.
McDonald, Mary Barbara Thomas, w/o Joshua McDonald & Geo. Garig, 1777 – 1852
Neilson, Elizabeth, widow of James Neilson who d. 1831
Neilson, William, s/o James & Elizabeth, ? – c.1833, bachelor
Parker, Mack, husb/o Nan Pecue
Pecue, Victoria Coralie Aucoin, w/o John Pecue, 1842 – 1921
Penny, Marian A., d/o Robert & Matilda, c. 1840 – 1846
Penny, Ann W., d/o Robert & Matilda, 1835 – 1850
Penny, Lucy Ann, d/o Robert & Matilda, c 1839 – c 1846
Phillips, Elizabeth Babin, w/o Plaisant, Sr.
Randolph, George, husb/o Ellen M. Smith, (m. 5-13-1852)
Randolph, John, 17?? – 1822, father of John (1777 – 1837 )
Sharp, Joseph, husb/o Pauline Gras, Widow Neilson, ? – 1820
Sheppers, Pauline Gras, widow of Neilson & Joseph Sharp, w/o Louis Sheppers who survived her and m. Her sister, Olympia, 1796 – 1822
Thomas, Benjamin Parker, husb/o Elizabeth Thomas, son-in-law of General Philemon Thomas, 1782 – 1835
Thomas, Caroline E. Trager, w/o Jefferson Plummer Thomas, d/o John Trager & Julia Kleinpeter, c 1827 – c.1871
Thomas, Jefferson Plummer, grandson of General Philemon Thomas, s/o Benjamin Parker Thomas, father of 4 children buried in Highland

2 thoughts on “The oldest cemetery in Baton Rouge”

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