Tag Archives: Alabama




One of my recent trips to central Alabama, gave me some insight as to some ancestors burials.I had been in Lowndes county already, and on the way back from the beach, decided on a different route.This trip was full of discoveries and unexpected surprises.

I had known of the Sullivan line in Perry county, from the late 1700’s. This line comes from my father, his father, his mother, and so on. Alice Davidson married a Pickens, my g grandfather. Her family was both from Tennessee and Alabama. Her grandfather was Hewlett Sullivan. This family lived in Alabama and later in Texas. Hewlett’s father was William Dunklin Sullivan. Throughout the family, you see Dunklin, Duncan, Dunkin, Hewlett and Hewett in the boys names.

When I went to the cemetery in Perry county, Marion cemetery, I expected to only find Dunklin Augusta Sullivan, which would have been an uncle. Because, on FindaGrave, he was the only Sullivan listed. So, I expected little, and got lots!! I had been driving through the cemetery, and I spotted a headstone with the name Parrish. I knew that one of the sisters had married Elam Parrish. This was my sign!!! So, I thought, I may be here awhile.

I walked around and started seeing a few Sullivans, taking notes and lots of photos. First, I saw Martha, then Dunklin then the big one!! William Dunklin Sullivan, and wife Mary.

William Dunklin Sullivan, Marion cemetery, Perry county, Alabama

A bit of history on WIlliam Dunklin Sullivan…..born 1791 in Greenville district South Carolina. He later moved to Tennessee where he received a good education in law. Later to Marion county Alabama, where he became Perry county’s first state senator. He married Mary Polly Mayberry, daughter of George Washington Mayberry. William Dunklin Sullivan died in office in 1837 while attending a session of the Alabama legislature. He also served a Probate judge and representative.

William Dunklin Sullivan was my 4th great-grandfather. So, on this trip, I had the pleasure of finding TWO 4th great-grandfathers. Stay tuned, there is more to come……

This slideshow requires JavaScript.



I decided to go out today and fulfill a few photo requests. I headed west, somewhat southwest. My plan was to go toward Trinity and Moulton. I had not yet surveyed any cemeteries in this part of Lawrence county.

I visited Grange Hall cemetery, also know as Morris cemetery in west Morgan county.

Grange Hall

As soon as a saw it, I though of a recent post by LS Moore, about people putting fencing around burial plots. This one had more than I had ever seen. And highly decorated. I researched online about it, and saw that each June, families come to decorate and cleanup the cemetery. This was a tradition I had never seen until I moved to Alabama. Most in Florida were flat, plain and unadorned. No interest, unless they were old! Every step I took today, uncovered a new group of headstones. In a cluster of bushes or trees, overgrown in the furthest areas, most could not see. You have to look beyond the new areas for the old. I would scan the distance and there I would see an obelisk. So many wrought iron fenced areas grouping the family together. And smaller stone fences surrounding single burials. I was able to find the photo request way back in a fenced area. It had been awhile since this gate had been opened. It is John Speer.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Eddie Thickston was just 13 years of age. He died while rock climbing in 1900.



My father , who is 77 years old today, was impressed with my recent genealogy trip. He never knew the family came from Alabama, he always thought Texas. I explained the route they took so many years ago. From South Carolina, to Alabama and then to Texas.

My tree of Pickens goes from


                                                                                    Patricia Ann

                                                                                  Hershel Harvey

                                                                                  Harvey Hershel

                                                                                   James Harvey

                                                                                       Harvey H

                                                                                      William H




                                                                                 Robert Andrew

                                                                                  Andrew Picon

My dad….

Hershel Pickens Air Force Collage

Daddy and me Christmas 2011


Samuel Pickens, my 4th great-grandfather

This was the perfect opportunity for a genealogy trip. My in-laws were going to the beach……they asked me to come along. I knew that along that route were some places I had been longing to visit. This is the story.

I left on Thursday, August 9, 2012. I had planned my trip to go south, and to make stops at specific places along the way. My first stop after Montgomery , was Hayneville, Alabama. This is a very small town, but, everyone was so nice, and answered all my questions. I was looking for a marriage record for my 3rd great-grandparents that married there in February 1841. I knew it was a long shot, but, it was worth a try. No records were kept there. The young lady suggested the archives in Montgomery. She also recommended I visit the library across the street. I did, and there was a book on the History of Lowndes county. I searched through to find the main names of Pickens and Kirkpatrick. Many mentions of those names, but, not particular to those in which I was searching. However, it did mention that both names were prominent members of Little Sandy Ridge Presbyterian church, just south of there, near Fort Deposit. I did know already that Samuel Pickens was buried there, so off I went.

When I got back on Interstate 65, I saw that the town of Fort Deposit was west of the interstate and the church was east. I had time. I headed to the town of Fort Deposit. It too, was a small town, worn from the years, like Hayneville. But, it had character. Above the buildings that were abandoned, I saw spires. I followed them along a side street and saw a beautiful church. Fort Deposit United Methodist stood strong against the older structures that did not survive as well as she. I took some photos, and off I went again.

Letohatchee old grocery

The cemetery was easy to find. I just followed hwy 185 to hwy 79, headed south for a few minutes, and there it was. My goal was to take my own photo of Samuel’s headstone, and, hopefully find a few more relatives. Dead relatives that is. There were also several photo requests here as well, and wanted to help those looking for photos too. It was not too large, only about 500 burials. I started walking…..I saw large headstones with Pickens, these were not the ones. They were too new. I looked further back, and I saw some Kirkpatrick headstones. BAM!! There he was next to them. He married a Kirkpatrick, Eleanor Kirkpatrick, daughter of Valentine Kirkpatrick. There it was, I was excited! After I had seen all I could of my family, I proceeded to search for the requests. Then, I saw a car pull along the fence and turn around. It stopped at the main gate. An older gentleman got out, came into the cemetery, and introduced himself as Joseph Cates. And he knew all about this cemetery. In fact, later in the day, I would find he documented all he could about it in 1963. He spoke to descendants of those buried there, got stories and information on them. He put it all in a binder. Yep, he knew all about this cemetery. He asked me which names I was looking to find, and I told him. He helped me find some others, and told me of his family Cates.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

He said he had something I would be interested in seeing if I had time. Not too far was an old homestead of Kirkpatrick. I told him I did have time. He went to get in the car with is wife Nancy. He could not get his car started, so I gave them a ride about 500 yards to their home.

My story gets better from here.

” I live just down the road, I’m sorry to trouble you”. It was most assuredly no trouble to take them, he had helped me a great deal already. ” I live on the old Lloyd Pickens property”. WHAT????? Lloyd was the son of Samuel, and bother to my 3rd great-grandfather, William H. Pickens. I could not believe this. He was definitely the right person to come along. He then told me the homestead was only a mile or so down the road, if I would follow them. I did, and he stopped on the side of the road. I didn’t see anything at first. The, I got out, he pointed to a sign. And said, ” You take as long as you like, then I will tell you what I know”.

Valentine Kirkpatrick property

He remembered the old home, that had been gone several years. He described it as if it was still there. The area was know as Kirklville. I told him he made my day! We went back to the cemetery, because, I had one last photo request I could not locate. He got his book and told me where to look. He told me young people are never seen in cemeteries. They don’t appreciate it. This is one person, although, not exactly young, who can truly appreciate the history and reverence that should be given to our ancestors. I thanked him, he gave me his contact info, and I hope to be in touch with him.



The tornado outbreak, April 27, 2011, damaged many areas in Alabama. You can still see trees cut off midway, homes without a roof and many buildings in ruin. Amongst all that, lay a historic cemetery in the town of Trinity, here in north Alabama.

Minor cemetery, is a 177 year old family cemetery that was purchased by WIlliam Tompkins Minor in 1839. A descendant of Minor ( Wrenn )  states that she would visit the cemetery every year, and was distraught to see the damage following the tornadoes.The cemetery, which has 18 tombstones, dates to 1835 and stayed in Wrenn’s family until 1918. Nucor purchased the property from the bankrupt Trico Steel Co. in 2002.

Coutesy of Decatur Daily

Nucor spent $20,000 of its general funds money to restore the cemetery, build fencing and install landscaping around the cemetery. Minor family cemetery is listed on the Alabama Historic Cemetery Register. 

Related links

Nucor restores ruined graveyard – The Decatur Daily – Decatur, Alabama.


July 27, 1813:

Courtesy of Rootsweb, image of Battle of Burnt Corn Creek

Burnt Corn, a town in Monroe county Alabama. Close by was the old Federal road, an old Indian horse path, which crossed the territory into Georgia. For nearly a century, whites, black and Indians all got along in this area. This was soon to change. Encroaching on land of the Creek indians, the whites caused the indians to be discontented. In the fall of 1811, the great Shawnee Tecumseh came into the area to incite the Creeks against the whites. He gave a speech at Tuckabatchee, challenging the Creeks to regain their former glory. In Florida, the Spanish were also encouraging discord among the Creeks; it was to their advantage, both politically and monetarily. This encouraged  the first engagement of the Creek Indian War of 1813-1814 , it takes place at Burnt Corn Creek in present-day Escambia County, Alabama. Creek leaders Peter McQueen and High Head Jim were returning from Pensacola, where they had secured supplies and arms from the Spanish and British, when they were attacked by American forces.







July 10, 1862: Forty men from the hill country of northwest Alabama sneak into Decatur to join the Union army, prompting Gen. Abel Streight to mount an expedition to the south to recruit more volunteers. With the help of an impassioned speech from fervent Unionist Christopher Sheats of Winston County, a center of anti-secessionist sentiment, Streight added another 150 Alabamians to his force.

Burleson house ( photo by Tim Carr )

July 10, 1864: Gen. Lovell H. Rousseau of the Union army begins his raid through Alabama at Decatur. Under orders from Gen. William T. Sherman, Rousseau’s 2,200 cavalrymen raided south more than 300 miles to the West Point and Montgomery Railroad in east Alabama. By July 20 they had destroyed more than thirty miles of track between Chehaw Station and Opelika, thereby aiding Sherman’s march on Atlanta by cutting a vital supply line to the city.

The Burleson house above was used by both Union and Confederate troops. At different times, of course!!

%d bloggers like this: