Zachary, Louisiana

Our cemetery History

The original land of the Shaw-McHugh cemetery was used by the Shaw family in the late 1700's for family burials. A McHugh married a Shaw and so the name, Shaw-McHugh. On the 23rd of November, 1819, William Shaw was deeded the present cemetery land. During the 1950's, because the lands did not fall in line with the graves then located, Mrs. Alice Weis Annison and her daughter, Mrs. Marjorie Branning, cooperated in trading a portion of their property for a portion of the cemetery property in order to have the cemetery grounds redefinned properly. This survey and legal step was paid for by Marshall Bond.

When the legal ownership of the property was abstracted, it was found that the cemetery property had been deeded to the Congregation of the Zachary Catholic Church. This necessitated the Archbishop of New Orleans deeding back the cemetery to the founders and sustaining members of the cemetery property. At that point, the cemetery property became a corporate asset of the Shaw-Mchugh Inc., a non-profit corporation domiciled under the jurisdiction of the State of Louisiana.

There were no records kept or graves marked for the first fifty years. The first recorded burial (noted with a monument) was in 1841 when Susanna Shaw McHugh was buried. There was an area in the center of the cemetery that was supposedly, by legend, used by the first Shaws for burial. About the year 1995, a semi-professional metal memorabelia collector who had advanced metal detection gear, spent an hour and a half trying to pick up signs of any metal in the area supposedly used for the early burials with no results. Evidently, based on some research of funeral methodology, during the first 50 years or so, lead caskets and/or vaults were used. Lead could not be detected by his instrumentation.

The cemetery was continually used after 1841 but sunk into disrepair in the early 1950's. Family members got together, collected funds for cleanup and restoration and it was rededicated at a ceremony in the mid 50's. A sustaining member, Joe Carmena, was responsible for obtaining and installing the chain link fence. Another person, Mrs. Blanche Capdeville McHugh, aided in spearheading the movement to clean up and beautify the cemetery, as well as, Miss Lena Carmena.

In early 1990, Clarence Shaw, the last of the Shaws, died and was buried. His estate left $5,000 to the cemetery. Richard (Dickie) McHugh was instrumental in using those funds and having the current landscaping designed and installed which includes the holly hedge, camellias and some oak trees.

Donations and memorials are welcomed to aid in the preservation of this historic cemetery.