So overgrown by the brush, she could not see the monuments that stand, faded and crumbling, as a reminder of antebellum Arkansas.
Buried there is Alfred Conrad Hockersmith and his family.
Hockersmith, who died in 1901, was a captain in the Confederate Army. Archives show he fought at the Battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, in 1863.
Hines says she was troubled by the thought of a cemetery with historical significance, left to fallow. It moved her to restore the cemetery.
"I have too much respect for the dead," Hines said.
Over the past 18 months she has raised more than $1,000 and rallied family, friends and volunteers to clean up the old cemetery.
Most recently, they put up a locked chain link fence to protect the grave stones from vandals which, she says, have struck in the recent past.
Volunteers have cleared out brush, and Hines has gone public with her cause, running ads in the local newspaper and soliciting others to help.
It's oldest known internment belongs to Tilford Hockersmith, who died Dec. 20, 1877.
Some grave stones have deteriorated to the point one cannot tell who is buried there, and Hines believes there could be more.
And while it is impossible to say right now how long and how much more money it will take to fully restore the old cemetery, for Ruth Hines, her mission is to make certain that the final resting place of the men and women who came before us is in a respectable condition for the generations to come.