Laurel Cemetery was founded in 1863 by the Independent Order of Oddfellows. An important function of this organization’s activities was founding and support of cemeteries. The group had established its headquarters in Madisonville in 1852 as Laurel Lodge. The group purchased a tract of land of 6 acres from Ashbill and Mary Ward and dedicated the cemetery on May 20, 1863. Additional purchases of land were made in 1871 of almost 2 acres from the Ward Estate and in 1907 an additional 4-1/2 acres from the Bramble Estate, now totaling 12-1/2 acres. The graves of many of the early pioneers can be found at Laurel Cemetery. The section extending behind the Gothic Style structure near the entrance to the cemetery contains many pioneer graves. Others are scattered throughout the older sections of the cemetery. Some of Madisonville’s prominent citizens of their day are buried here:
• Elon & Margaret Bramble (parents of Ayers Bramble)
• Ayers & Mary Bramble
• Ashbill Ward (and many other Wards are found in several sections)
• Ludlow & wife Elizabeth
• Smith & Mary Clason
• Clephanes’, Whetsel’s, Blacks, Jones, Demmings, Settle family
The Oddfellows still maintain the cemetery from their lodge in Milford. This is still an operating cemetery.