FORT KNOX, Ky. – Tim Taylor hadn’t set foot in his family’s cemetery in more than six decades – visits he always made with his grandmother when he was a child.
However, that changed on Oct. 11, 2021.
“The last time I was here was in 1960,” said Taylor. “I was only about 10 years old when we used to come for Memorial Day.”
Taylor is a descendent of the Rahm family, who owned a portion of the land in the 1800s that would later become Fort Knox. He said his grandmother Agnes, whom he always called “Mamaw,” was born and grew up there.
“They were farmers,” said Taylor. “They had a dairy farm. They also had peach orchards, apple orchards, and Harry Rahm had the largest gooseberry farm in the nation.”
According to Taylor, the first Rahm, Johann, emigrated from Germany in the early 1800s, crossing from England on a tall ship – a journey which took more than two months to complete. He said Johann landed in New Orleans and found work cutting sugarcane, eventually saving enough to travel to Kentucky and purchase property.
Taylor said his grandmother, who was born in 1901, would often speak fondly of her time on the Rahm farm.
“She loved being on the farm,” said Taylor. “She told us about her daily routine of getting up and sending the dog to round up the cows. Her job was to feed the cows. She said they had a really good life.”
The Rahm family lived on their farm until Camp Knox was established in 1918, when they moved to Louisville. Taylor said his grandmother returned to the site for many years to visit her family’s cemetery. Over time, however, her visits became less frequent and the area was overtaken with trees and brush.
Having moved out of state, Taylor said he was unable to visit as often and sadly, Agnes was eventually told the cemetery was lost.
“I didn’t make another trip back to Fort Knox until the early 1990s,” said Taylor. “My grandmother just kept saying ‘I wish we could find the cemetery.’”
With Agnes still hoping it could be located, Fort Knox became involved in the search. Range Foreman Arlin Kramer said tracking it down wouldn’t be as easy as it had been in the past, though.
“One hundred years ago there were no trees here,” said Kramer. “It was all clear.”
Area historians and field archeologists from the Environmental Research Group searched for more than 25 years in hopes of locating the cemetery. According to Kramer, Agnes explained that growing up, she could see the cemetery from the front porch of her house. This meant somewhere in the brush, there had to be remnants of the home as well.
Then, on Jan. 15, 2021, Kramer said one of the members of ERG surveying the area north of several Fort Knox ranges stumbled upon a stone that appeared to have been intentionally shaped. Following the removal of a great deal of leaves and vegetation, a cluster of headstones was revealed.
Taylor said he’ll never forget the day he heard the news.
“Back in January or February I got the message that said ‘We found it!’” said Taylor. “I just about jumped out of my skin!”
The desire to come back to Kentucky to visit the site was even stronger, Taylor said, because Agnes passed away in 2008 before she had the chance to see the property again.
Today, a pathway to the area has been fully cleared and the cemetery itself has been fenced and marked. Kramer said just as Agnes described, it’s clear where her home was.
“If you look down through that clearing, there’s a barn foundation there,” said Kramer. “Go another hundred paces and you’ll see a road that runs up. Just on the other side of that road is where the homestead sat.
“You can see where the porch was. You can see where the cold cellar is. This was all the Rahm property.”
Agnes is buried a short distance from her former farm in St. Patrick’s cemetery at Fort Knox, along with several other Rahm family members. Taylor said walking on the very ground his grandmother did as a child made him miss her all the more. With tear-filled eyes, he summed up the morning’s experience in just a few words.
“It’s pretty special. I know Mamaw knows… we found it.”