John and Mary Laird are buried in what has been known as the Laird/McLaurine Cemetery, which is located on a small hill about halfway between John Laird's house and Waco, Tennessee. The cemetery is two-thirds of an acre and contains approximately sixty graves. The earliest marker was erected in 1819, and the last in 1910. Six of John and Mary Laird's children and some of their descendants are buried there.|
The cemetery was not tended for a number of years, and fallen trees, weeds and underbrush took their toll on the markers. There is no longer a fence around the cemetery, and cattle belonging to the owner of the adjacent property roamed freely through it. Some of the monuments were tilted and some had fallen off their bases. All of them needed to be reset and cleaned, and some that were cracked needed repairing. The original deed to the land reserves the cemetery and a right-of-way for its maintenance and preservation by the descendants, but the road is not paved or graveled.
In the spring of 2004, the land around the cemetery was divided into lots and sold at auction. At this time, a group of concerned descendants decided the time had come for restoration and preservation of this historic site. They met and formed the John Laird Cemetery Association for this purpose. The Association adopted a charter and by-laws, elected officers, and adopted an estimated budget for the restoration process.
With help from a work-crew, members have cleared the fallen trees and underbrush from the cemetery site. They have installed two culverts under the road, and now the cemetery is accessible in all but inclement weather.
The Association has signed a contract with Dan Sumner Allen, IV, with the Cumberland Research Group, Inc., to perform the archaeological exploration and conservation work of the cemetery. During the exploration phase, Mr. Allen will probe the cemetery to determine the number and locations of both marked and unmarked graves. The conservation work includes: cleaning all markers with a special solution; resetting any markers recovered during the first phase; repair/resetting of any markers that are canted; and repairing all fractured markers. Finally, he will generate a precise map of the cemetery and outline a boundary around the cemetery marked at the corners by wooden stakes to establish a recommended fence orientation. Mr. Allen has performed a considerable amount of work on the first phase of the project.
The Association has actively contacted by mail other descendants for whom it had addresses to ask them to join in support of this worthwhile endeavor. The members are pleased with the resulting enthusiasm and generosity many have demonstrated.