Tag Archives: cemeteries




Took a trip back in August to see my best friend, and wrangled him to go to a place I had always wanted to visit. I did not have any relatives there, though I had hoped the Joseph McCall was my 3rd great -grandfather, but, it was not. Oh well, was worth the time spent anyway!

It was a beautiful day!!If you ever have an opportunity to go, please do. You will be impressed with the grand architecture. Oakland Cemetery is the oldest established cemetery in the United States. 

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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.

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




I had plotted my path in a large square. It went from Athens Browns Ferry Road up to north of downtown Athens. I had a plan. I HAD a plan. You know what they say about the best laid plans….I got slightly off track. I pulled up GPS on my iPhone, and started out to the first one.  Now, I only had three on my list, I went to seven, and attempted two more that were inaccessible. When I say inaccessible, I mean, I can’t see it directly from the road, or there is no ” good” access. Before I even got to the first one, I went to three others. When I use my phone, I also go to maps and search cemeteries. Little red dots appear and I’m off!!! Hot on the trail! The first one I spotted that sounded interesting was Polly Malone cemetery. Off a fairly well-travelled road, although, between corn fields and soy beans.

Farmhouse in front of Polly Malone

It was only about a half mile off the main road, on dirt and large gravel. I went. It was pretty old and broken. The earliest burial was 1815, no Polly though, but, it appeared most of the Malone family was there. A blend of old and new. Polly and husband Henry were listed in the 1870 census for that area as being farm laborers, probably for Dr. J W Proctor, who also had a farm. Several others in the census were listed as domestic servants.

Polly Malone cemetery

I then went on the Anderson cemetery, I figured, it’s just down the road, why not? This was easy to get to, behind a farm, on a road that leads to county property. It said “private drive”. I went. The Findagrave site only listed six burials. The cemetery was full, and I took 79 photos. This will take some time. There were a lot of ” homemade headstones.

Anderson cemetery

Anderson cemetery, homemade headstones

I stopped for gas on the way to the next one. It was another Anderson cemetery with just two burials listed. It was in a small clump of trees among fields of corn. Corn that didn’t have much life in it either. We had a drought and it showed. This Anderson was listed as Madison county, but, it was still in Limestone. It was not quite as far as the county line road.

Anderson # 2

Anderson # 2

I finally got to the cemetery on my list, but, not before I found Collier, but, could not get to it! So, I went on to Cambridge Church cemetery. It was no longer a church. The marker for it was down the road about 1/4 mile. There was a request here, so I was able to fulfill it.

Cambridge church

Success!! I was on the road again! Now to ONeal, not on my list , but, on my way!! Sometimes, I also see if there are any graves listed on Findagrave that have no pictures attached. I figure, eventually someone may be looking for them. So, I did find seven here. I was disappointed I could not find the request, but, took 9 photos that were not listed. At this point, I am asking myself if I will ever get the the cemetery next on my list??? It was just up the road. I did, and was glad I did. Round Island…now, it did appear to be round in form, but, behind a church. There were 3 requests, I was able to get one, really old one!!

Round Hill cemetery

Again, there were several not photographed, so, I did my best! I am done, that was the last one on my list!! But, am I? On my map I saw another as I was looking for a way out of Limestone county. Sunny Hill, it just sounds nice, right? There were about a dozen not photographed, I was able to get all but one. I felt like this was a successful venture. And worth going to that last one.

Have you ever looked in the distance and saw a clump of trees in the middle of a field of corn, soybeans or whatever grows in your area? Check your map, it just may be an old cemetery. I have found, at least locally, there is not mush out there on the history of our cemeteries. You almost must have someone famous buried there. So many of these I have found were on farms, perhaps the owners, or maybe workers, or earlier, slaves. It would be interesting to know who they were.



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.

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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.



On a recent trip to Nashville, to cross something off my Bucket List…….

One thing I wanted to do before I could no longer remember the songs, was to see, Crosby, Stills and Nash. It was great by the way. And no better venue than the Ryman Auditorium. My husband also wanted to check out the National cemetery north of Nashville, and try to locate his great grand-uncle. Success!!

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We were actually in search of this particular one. My husband had an uncle that fought in the Civil War, Benjamin Franklin Black. He is forever in the Nashville National Cemetery. There are 150 nationally important National cemeteries in the United States. Mostly with burials of veterans and military personnel, but, not always exclusively. Sometimes buried with spouses.

Upon entering the cemetery, as with any National cemetery, you are speechless. It is overwhelming. Perfectly aligned white monuments, curving, straight and across hills. It is an experience to be certain. It will bring tears to your eyes thinking of all those who have died in service who lay beneath the well-manicured grass, others who bravely served and were able to have lives, families and careers.

Here is my husband, Patrick beside the headstone of Pvt. Benjamin Franklin Black, his great grand-uncle. Here is Benjamin’s bio. and service record. Benjamin never married, he died at the age of twenty-three, serving the north in the Civil War.

Patrick and Benjamin

Enlisted on 7/21/1861 at Camp Joe Holt as a Private.
On 9/9/1861 he mustered into “A” Co. KY 6th Infantry
He died of wounds on 10/30/1863
He was listed as: Wounded 9/19/1863 Chickamauga, GA (Severe wound in right leg, amputated)

Additional Information:
Benjamin Franklin Black was born near Visalia, Kenton County, Kentucky in 1840. He was the son of Elmore Black and Rosannah Abercrombie. He was the grandson of William Abercrombie, killed in the War of 1812 at the Siege of Ft. Meigs, Ohio in 1813. Ben had two brothers that also served in the Union Army during the Civil War. They were: Pvt. Samuel G. Black, Co.B, 53rd Ky.Mounted Inf. and Cpl. William H. Black, 82nd Indiana Vol. Inf.
Benjamin enlisted in the 6th Kentucky Volunteer Infantry at Camp Joe Holt, Indiana on July 21, 1861. He was wounded at the Battle of Shiloh, Tennessee on April 7, 1862. Captured near Laverne, Tennssee in December 1862. Paroled in March 1863 and returned to his regiment. Wounded in right knee on September 19, 1863 at the Battle of Chickamauga, Georgia. Sent to Army hospital #12, Nashville, Tennessee. Died from shock after amputation of right leg on October 13, 1863.




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.



…..or, maybe I never noticed them before.

Now that I am photographing more cemeteries, and finding them on Google Maps, I tend to see them where I least expect. I will look at the satellite view and see it in a clump of trees. Or, like Whitworth cemetery in Madison, Al.,  in an extremely nice neighborhood next to someone’s house.

It is very difficult to get a cemetery moved. This may be why you will see a cemetery still on a farm, surrounded by trees, or a cemetery enclosed in an iron or chain link fence.

Whitworth cemetery

I attempted to locate some others that were in the same neighborhood, behind some homes though. Hmmmmm… I think not. You never know what people may think about someone coming behind their house. I would rather have better access.

Bibb cemetery in Madison

Bibb cemetery is one of those in a very populated area as well. James Henry Bibb was one of the founders of Madison Station, which later became the town of Madison.This marker was erected in his honor in 1985.

Bibb marker

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