~ Unidentified or Forgotten Cemeteries ~
At the foot of Ford's Mountain near the Sipsey River, three unidentified graves have baffled local residents for a number of years. The property on which the graves are located is now (April 2004) in the possession of Jerry and Sandra LAWRENCE. According to Mr. LAWRENCE: "The graves were covered with slabs of sandrock with headstones carved in the shape of a keyhole. About ten years ago, someone went in and desecrated the sites. They broke up the slabs of rock and scattered them about. We were able to find a lot of the pieces and return them to the grave sites. The headstones are still intact, but there have never been any discernible etchings." Mr. LAWRENCE had been led to believe that the graves belonged to "a family of FORDs, 2 adults and one child."
Larry WHITEHEAD, a descendant of Daniel FORD and an experienced researcher, is familiar with these graves: "While I have never been to the site, I believe it is located near or on the old Christopher EHL farm that lays between the mountain and the Sipsey River. The farm or a portion thereof, is now owned by McCALEB descendants. Ms. BRASHER in her notes from the 1970s indicated that she thought these graves were EHLs. I have located all the graves of the EHL family. (Christopher was my maternal grandfather and a ggreatgrandson of Daniel.) The earlier EHLs are buried along with James FORD, Daniel's oldest son, at Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery in Fayette. / From the description of the graves, the markers were rather elaborate for the average family of that time. Daniel [FORD] was a prosperous landowner and very well could have had markers such as the ones described. I am not aware, however, of any children of his and his wife that died young. I have long assumed that he and his wife were buried in the Old Hollingsworth Cemetery on the northwest side of Ford's Mountain [see map]. No marker has been found."
The mystery continues.
"There is a cemetery located in a pasture about 3 miles south of Winfield on highway 43/171. Are you familiar with it? According to a contact, 'the cemetery has been destroyed and someone is raising or keeping game roosters there in cages among where the graves were.' I am devastated because my great great grandparents, Benjamin Lee b 1797 in Ga. died between 1860 and 1870; and Margaret (Steadman) Lee b 1787 in North Carolina, death date unk, are both buried there. There are others buried there as well. James C. Mills and Caroline (Walker) Mills are two." ~ Sandy Miller, 22 Feb 2005
NOTE: The 1860 U.S. census finds Benjamin and Margaret LEE living in Fayette County's Middle Division (p. 487). They were recorded beside Samuel A. LEE (b. ca 1827 AL), a widower whom Ms. MILLER identified as her great-grandfather. Legend says that his name was Samuel Green (?) LEE and that he later died in the Civil War. The Federal Land Patent database shows that a Samuel A. LEE acquired three patents totaling 200 acres in 1857, 1859 and 1860. These tracts were located east of what is now U.S. Highway 43 in Township 14S, Range 12W.
The cemetery, however, sits on the west side of the highway, a few miles north of the LEE patents. Its exact location — according to local residents — is somewhere near the western edge of the southwest quarter of Section 21, Township 13S, Range 12W (see map). This section of land was patented to a William BERRYHILL in 1858 and was actually embraced in southern Marion County (Aston's Store P.O.) at the time of the 1860 census. Mr. BERRYHILL's neighbors in 1860 included James and Hannah LEE and their widowed daughter, Susan (LEE) HUGGINS, who later married Samuel A. (Green?) LEE. Two of Samuel's brothers also were recorded in this part of Marion County, having acquired their own federal patents a mile or two northwest of the cemetery site in the late 1850s.
Chelsie J. MILLS visited the location in the early 1990s. He reports that the cemetery appeared to cover a large area, although only a few graves were visible in the heavy brush. The burials were marked by the placement of large brown stones, some in small groupings suggesting family plots. If the cemetery ever had a name, no one now living can recall it. Past owners of the property include David Smith HARRIS and his son Ralph. The latter was quoted as saying that he never knew of anyone having relatives buried there, except maybe some TRULL's.
If you have any information regarding this cemetery and/or its occupants, please contact Ms. MILLER at the link above or click on the "here" link below.
My grandfather, James Monroe HALLMAN, purchased a house at 250 11th Street NW (now the site of West Body Shop) in Fayette in 1933. We were always told that this house was a former Pauper's Home and that the people who lived there were buried in this cemetery if no one claimed the bodies.
The cemetery is probably about 75 feet by 75 feet (if that large). It is located behind my sister's house at 204 11th Street NW. I am not sure who actually owns the cemetery property. We used to play in the woods that had grown up over the graves when I was a child. There are no indications whatsoever that a cemetery is there.
My mother always told us that she could remember the last person to be buried in the cemetery. She said that the man had been hit by a train. My mother was born near the cemetery, in a house that my grandfather owned, and lived there until she was 5 or until they purchased the Pauper's Home and land in 1933. She always said that the cemetery had been there as long as she could remember.
I just wanted someone to know that a cemetery is located there and to find any information that I can.
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