Headstone Headscratcher - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Headstone Headscratcher

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NORTH LITTLE ROCK (KATV) -

A North Little Rock man cleaning out a safe place under his home finds the tombstone of a man born over two centuries ago.

Mike Smith called Seven-On-Your-Side hoping that we...and also you...might be able to help find where this 150 year-old headstone belongs.

In over two decades Smith had never looked under the plastic in the crawl space under his home.

When he did, he found the tombstone of William Gilliam, born 1811, died 1861.

"My intentions...I'd love for the family to get it back," says Smith. "Put it where it belongs."

The oldest cemetery near the Smith's North Little Rock home is Thomas Cemetery...established in 1880.

No markers there are as old as the one Smith found under his house.

Through ancestry websites we have learned that in 1849 Gilliam, a 38 year-old Tennessee native, bought 128 acres for he and his wife Murcena in Desha County (Red Fork community). Census records indicate the couple was white, with a 22 year-old male laborer (John Thompson) and an 11 year-old girl (Missouri Butler) living with them. There is no record of the Gilliams having any children of their own.

According to the 1850 Census, Gilliam did not work. His listed assets of $3,000.00 is roughly the equivalent of $90,000.00 today.

In 1859 the Gilliams bought 40 acres in Pulaski County. Two years later William died.

Census records show that in 1870 Mursena was living alone in Little Rock.

In 1880, now 69, she was living with family in the Pyeatt township, an area that is now Maumelle.

Murcena's death date is not on the tombstone. She may have returned to and died in her native Illinois.

In addition to where it belongs, how the tombstone got under a North Little Rock house is also a mystery.

"Some kids, back before we moved here, probably went and stole the stone," speculates Smith.

If you have a tip for us that might help find a home for this tombstone, email the information to jpederson@katv.com.

Air date: May 13th, 2014