Tag Archives: FindaGrave



These are some houses in the historic district of Courtland Alabama. Courtland is home to one of the first southern railroads.

One of the South’s First Railroads – 1832

Seeking a means to ship cotton and other goods around the treacherous Muscle Shoals of the Tennessee River, area planters and merchants met at Courtland in 1831 to consider a rail line. On January 13, 1832, the 50 mile long Tuscumbia, Courtland, & Decatur Railroad was chartered. Early trains were usually horse-drawn, although an English-made steam locomotive was acquired in 1834. Absorbed by the Memphis & Charleston line after 1850, the railway was largely destroyed during the Civil War. The rebuilt railroad became part of the southern system in 1898.

Courtland’s Early Architecture

Structures within the Courtland historic district represent over 150 years of changing tastes in building design. Several of Courtland’s earliest buildings survive to this day. The Federal-style architecture of the oldest houses suggest the community’s strong original links with Virginia and other states of the upper South. Typical early residences of frame and brick feature a gable roof with tall chimneys at each end. Sometimes weatherboarding conceals log walls underneath. Many buildings dating from the 1850s through the 1930s reflect Italianate, Victorian and neoclassical architectural influences. There are also early 20th century “bungalows”, some built of native sandstone. Courtland still counts about twenty buildings predating the Civil War (1861). During the early 19th century, an assortment of wooden, brick and log business structures surrounded the town square. Most of the old buildings on the square today (north and east sides) date from the late 19th century and early 20th century. The fronts of some of them feature characteristic Victorian detailing. At the northeast corner of the square are four 19th-century stone mounting blocks placed for the convenience of horseback riders. The blocks were also supposedly used for selling slaves during the slave period. The tall red cedars seen throughout Courtland and along the streets radiating from the square have been a feature of the landscape since early days.

Located near downtown, is Courtland Cemetery and Courtland Black Cemetery.

Historic Marker Courtland Cemetery

Courtland Black Cemetery

I noted that on FindaGrave, of all the 456 burials in the Black cemetery, none of the burials have photos attached on FindaGrave. So, while there, I managed to take some headstone photos. Not enough of the 456, but, I tried. Courtland cemetery is one of the prettiest I have seen.

Lou Watkins

The Red Rovers

A volunteer military company was organized at Courtland in 1835 to aid Texas in its struggle for independence. Commanded by Dr. Jack Shackelford, a local physician, the company derived its name from the color of their home spun uniforms made by citizens of Courtland. The dye used was reportedly derived from the rich red clay abundant in the area.



I hope I don’t get poison ivy or poison oak! The first cemetery I found was at an old church off the beaten path. Sand Hill cemetery in Morgan county, just north of Hwy 67. There were a few photos not yet submitted on the FindaGrave site for this cemetery. I was able to locate one, Susie Ryan. I will post to FindaGrave today.

Susie Ryan

There were a lot of old headstones in the cemetery ( covered in poison oak and ivy) along with many markers that were overturned, illegible and ones leaned against trees. Those are the forgotten ones. They may be listed in the cemetery records though, I hope.

From there, I proceeded east. I pulled up my Google map and typed in cemeteries. It is a wondrous thing! Little red dots appear to list all the cemeteries. I find the most useful tool on FindaGrave is to locate the cemetery name, then only list the buried who do not have a photo on their site.

Shoal Creek cemetery is at the church. Located off Hwy 67 and Shoal Creek Rd in Priceville. There were numerous headstones that were not yet pictured on FindaGrave. This may take a while. My camera died, so, I resorted to the iPhone. The most interesting photo I took was this.


Died exactly one year after her birth.

This is the cemetery for the Price family for whom Priceville is named. The Price family moved into Morgan County in 1825. Dr Charles Wesley Price became one of the county’s leading physicians. His son, Dr James E. Price, succeeded him. This is a very well-kept cemetery.

Price Cemetery

Last on my list searching for headstones that had not yet been photographed, was also in Priceville. Walnut Grove Baptist church cemetery. This was a well maintained cemetery next to the church. Wooded area next to it, which made me wonder…..could there be more?

Ruby Stella Mays

I also found a cemetery directly off Bethel road which was inaccessible. I would have had to walk and climb to get in there, neither looked attractive to me. This one would have been intriguing. It was Rountree cemetery which had family buried there of John Asa Rountree, notable citizen of Hartselle, and on the same grounds, a slave cemetery. There are no listings for the slaves buried there.

And then, on the property of Decatur Country Club, was Blackwell cemetery. It was posted with ” private property” signs. I decided to stay in the car.

None of the headstones I photographed today are family members of me, nor, do I know anyone buried in these cemeteries. However, I learned a great deal about the local community, its founders and epidemics that took so many lives in Alabama in 1878.  Severe epidemics in the Tennessee valley, with infection in most cases from Memphis. There were cases at Athens, Courtland, Decatur, Florence, Huntsville, Leighton, Stevenson, Town Creek, Tuscumbia and Tuscaloosa. Spring Hill, Whistler and Mobile in the southern part of the State were visited.

Athens had 2 cases, with 2 deaths; Courtland, one case with one death; Decatur 187 cases, 51 deaths; Florence 1,409 cases, 50 deaths; Huntsville 33 cases, 13 deaths, none of these being resident cases; Leighton, 4 cases, 1 death; Mobile 297 cases, 83 deaths; Spring Hill, 1 death among the refugees, no local cases; Stevenson 11 cases, and 6 deaths, first case on September 1; Town Creek, 4 deaths; Tuscaloosa 2 cases, 2 deaths; Tuscumbia 97 cases, 31 deaths; Whistler several cases among refugees, 1 death only, inhabitants not attacked.

References.—Brewer, Alabama (1872), p. 526; Northern Alabama (1888), p. 215; Polk’s Alabama gazetteer,1888-9, p. 821; Alabama Official and Statistical Register, 1915.

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