Tag Archives: cemetery




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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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……

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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.




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.



I had no idea what it meant. I was wandering around Athens City cemetery, and I saw this unusual monument. It looked like a tree stump. I had never seen the likes of this. I took a photo. Now, they command my attention as much as obelisks do. The concrete stump emerges from the graveyard, beckoning me to come take a look. Once I see one in the cemetery, I gaze for others. Surveying the landscape today, I saw a few really large monuments, I knew these  were Woodmen pillars of stone.

The history of the Woodmen of the World, established in 1883 by Joseph Cullen Root. He envisioned an organization dedicated to helping his fellow man. He wanted to provide security to families, in the event the ” breadwinner” passed on. Hence, the beginning of the Woodmen of the World insurance organization.

Joseph Cullen Root

From about 1890 until the 1920s, the insurance organization commissioned markers for its members. These markers were provided free of charge, and varied greatly in size and shape. Most commonly, they resembled a tree stump or a stack of cut wood. Some are elaborate hand-carved trees, with fine detailing. Others were simple stone markers, with the Woodman emblem.

I went to Somerville today. There is a historic cemetery there, just off HWY 67 and 36. The above monuments were photographed today at Somerville court house and Somerville cemetery.

Historic Somerville Cemetery

Somerville also has another bit of history. The court house in the center of town. The historic Morgan County Courthouse in Somerville, Alabama. Built in 1837, it is the oldest original courthouse in Alabama still standing. The Federal-style building served as a courthouse until the county seat for Morgan County moved from Somerville to Decatur in 1891. The building later served as Somerville Town Hall. Presently it is used for meetings, birthday parties, anniversaries and weddings.

Somerville, the original Morgan county courthouse

© Fanniesyouraunt



Burial Impressions

My husband and I went to Redstone arsenal Sunday. It is the Army installation on which he works. He had told me there were a lot of cemeteries there, so, we got our map and started to search. Sometimes, he and a guy he works with, will drive around base, and they had spotted some.

We were able to see seven of them. The others were inaccessible to due to restrictions. I guess this is where they blow up stuff. On the south side, there are numerous bunkers, still in use. The base is covered in wild life. I had my camera at the ready. The best shot I got of any critter was this butterfly, feeding on appropriately, Butterfly Weed.

I saw a wild turkey, but, he escaped into the woods before we got in camera range. I think I scared my husband several times, when I would say ” look! ” . Mostly it was because I saw a bird I had never seen, only in books. It seemed very peaceful everywhere on base. It was quiet, no planes, helicopters or explosions. Given, it was a Sunday.

One thing that was quite disconcerting, was when we got to Fennil cemetery. I noticed it was quite large, but, only had three headstones, and they were very spread out across the area. Upon walking through Fennil, it was apparent, there were many more people buried here. There were depressions, covered in oak leaves. Long ago, someone was buried in those graves. They were lost and forgotten somewhere along the way. I did some research of the three people whose headstones are at Fennil cemetery. This appeared to be a black cemetery.

Corporal Joseph Beasley, was in the 12th Regiment, United States Colored Infantry.

Corp. Joseph Beasley

Silla Moore- could not find any info, although, there is another cemetery, Moore, could be related.

Silla Moore

Mary Lightford- no info found

Mary Lightford

According to records, there are forty-six historic cemeteries located on Redstone Arsenal.After the United States Congress passed the National Cemetery Act in 1973, discussion of establishing a National Cemetery at Redstone Arsenal was revived since the Mobile National Cemetery, the only other National Cemetery in Alabama at the time, was out of space, partially due to the dramatic casualty load from the Vietnam War. After consulting with the Army Memorial Affairs Agency, however, it was decided that there was no need to expand the current national cemetery program. There was no discussion at this time of relocating any of the cemeteries on the installation.



…..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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