Ft. Rucker Cemeteries
This clipping from The Army Flier also contains a picture of Clay Hill Cemetery and a Church book from Beulah Church.
From The Army Flier, February 13, 1975 -
Ft. Rucker Cemeteries
Echoes of the Past
By SP5 Meredith Keller
Alabama has a past well-marked by the early pioneers who helped the state blossom
and brought new life and prosperity to the foundling land. But, with life and creation,
Death and cemeteries also come. Church cemeteries, community cemeteries and individual or joint family cemeteries are
found throughout southeastern Alabama. Today, four such cemeteries are located within the
boundaries of the Ft. Rucker military reservation: Beulah, Byrd, Averett
and Clay Hill.
The early 1820's saw the Byrd and Johnson families pack up all their belongings
and move from Johnston Co., N. C. to what is now known as Dale County.
Records show the earliest Byrd family living in this area to be Bright and Gracey
Byrd, a young couple who began their homestead just north of the area presently
known as Ozark. This family and its descendants created the Byrd Cemetery which is located just north of Ozark near old
Acrel Byrd, on of the sons of Bright and Gracey Byrd, married into the Johnson family
who shared the Byrd's journey from North Carolina. He and his wife, Bartilla, began their
homestead just west of Lake Tholocco. Acrel Byrd's family cemetery is located on the
military reservation just beyond the beach area of Lake Tholocco. The earliest burial marker
is that of Acrel's grandson, John C. Byrd, who died June 21, 1871.
In the middle of the nineteenth century, long before Ft. Rucker was ever
dreamed of, the Old Beulah Primitive Baptist Church held
regular meetings for its members. For more an 60 years, services were held in a small frame
building located about seven miles west of Ozark on, the Ozark-Daleville Highway.
A small record book called "A Book of
Record for the Primitive Baptist Church at Beulah, Dale County, Alabama" and dated
1860 shows its first entry was made on May 10. The minutes for the church business
meetings were maintained by various clerks of the church until Dec. 7, 1924. The Beulah Church established a cemetery
for its members and their families which still exists today near the site of the old church.
For reasons unknown, the congregation transferred their letters of membership to
other churches in the area and abandoned the old building. According to local sources, the
frame structure deteriorated so badly that it was removed by the first occupants of Camp
Rucker in the early 1940s.
Four family generations ago, in February 1843, Phillip McCarty and his family
established themselves on a homestead farm inthe western section of Dale County, Ala.
From this original section, he and his family increased their homestead farm in the western
section of Dale County, Ala. From this
original section, he and his family increased their homestead to include the entire area of
what is today known as Lowe Army airfield and the surrounding areas of Ft. Rucker and
Two daughters of the McCarty family, Georgia Ann and Safronia, married Ananias
and Marion Averett from North Carolina. These marriages created a permanent bond
between the two pioneer families and their descendants. It is carried on local record
books under three names: McCarty Cemetery, Averett Cemetery and the McCarty-Averett
Clay Hill Cemetery
Early maps of Dale County show the location of several small towns on the Ozark-
Enterprise Highway called Liberty Ridge, Mt. Liberty, Pleasant Hill and others. Many of the
churches in these communities were created suddenly and later the memberships disappeared among other churches just as
quickly, leaving behind either partial or incomplete records.
One such congregation was the Clay Hill Liberty Ridge. No records have been found
that can actually date the church s existence but, nevertheless, a cemetery remains to show
that it did in fact exist.
Tombstone markers appear on the gravesites showing dates from 1877 to 1920,
with the most prevalent names being those of Dawkins, Ardis and Matthews. Local towns
people voiced recollections of the church membership being so small that when Camp
Rucker became a reality, rather than try to relocate the church, they abandoned it. The
people were absorbed into the churches of the
surrounding area. Without proper care, the building deteriorated and was probably removed by
military personnel of Camp Rucker. All that remains today is the cemetery itself, about one
mile south of Black Mills Range on the
Triangular Division Army Camp The Ft Rucker military reservation area
was first surveyed in the latter part of 1941. The contract for construction of the
"Triangular Division Army Camp", as it was then called, was awarded to the Jones
Construction Company of Charlotte, N. C. and the Smith-Pew Construction Company of
Atlanta, Ga. Troops from the 81st (Wildcat) Infantry
Division began arriving in late April 1942. The planning and designing of the training areas
were severely hampered by the many cemeteries in the area, so the government assumed the responsibility and the expense of
relocating most of the cemeteries that were situated on the military reservation. Byrd,
Beulah, Averett and Clay Hill cemeteries were allowed to remain because they did not
interfere with troop movement or training. Many pages of history have been written
since the first cemetery in the early 1820 s and still Alabama blossoms and new life is created.
These cemeteries mark the resting places of many of the early pioneers who made this life
in southeastern Alabama possible.
[ Up ] [ Stewart Family Cemetery Clayton ] [ Barbour County Cemeteries a bit of history ] [ Anderson Bap.Cem ] [ Anderson Cemetery ] [ Antioch Cem. ] [ Atiron Bethel Cem. ] [ Bethel Primative ] [ Bethesda Cemetery ] [ Bishop-Blair Cemetery ] [ Cemetery Info. Needed ] [ Confederate Cemetery Tullahoma ] [ Cemetery In Sect. 19 ] [ Beasley Cem. ] [ Beauchamp Cem. ] [ Bennett-Lee Cem ] [ Center Ridge Cemetery ] [ Cemetery name unknown in George Town Georgia ] [ Christian Grove ] [ Clayton City Cemetery ] [ Danner Family Cemetery ] [ Dansby Cemetery ] [ Dykes Cem. ] [ Ephesus Cem. ] [ Elam ] [ Fairview Cemetery ] [ Faulk Church and Cemetery ] [ Fellowship Cemetery ] [ Ft. Rucker ] [ Gallilee Church Cemetery ] [ Grubbs Cemetery AKA ] [ Holmes Cemetery ] [ John Glover Map ] [ JOHNSTON CEMETERY ] [ JONES CEMETERY ] [ King Cemetery ] [ Lewis Family Cemetery ] [ Mt. Andrew Cem. ] [ Mt. Ariel Cem. ] [ McElvin Cem. ] [ Mt.Enon Bapt. Cem. ] [ Meth. Ch. Cem.Louisville ] [ Mt. Pleaseant Cemetery ] [ Mount Serene Cemetery ] [ Mount Enon Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery ] [ Oak Hill Cemetery ] [ Old City Cemetery ] [ Old Batesville Cemetery Barbour County ] [ Old Bethel Primitive Cemetery ] [ Old Scotch Cem. ] [ Palmyra Cemetery ] [ Pea River Presb. Ch. Cemetery ] [ Penile Baptist Church Cemetery Aka Sheppard Cemetery ] [ Perkins Cemetery ] [ Pine Level Cemetery ] [ Pleasant View Presbyterian Church & Cemetery ] [ Pond Bethel Cem. ] [ Pond Bethel Cemetery ] [ Rocky Mt. United Meth. Ch. Cem. ] [ Roquemore Cemetery ] [ Ryan Cemetery ] [ Sheppard Cemetery ] [ Shorter Cemetery ] [ Shirah Cemetery ] [ Sikes Creek Cemetery ] [ Spring Hill Methodist Cem. ] [ Springcreek ] [ Tabernacle Cemetery ] [ Tew Family Cemetery ] [ Tucker Cemetery ] [ Walker Cemetery ] [ Walter Mitchell Place Pvt. Cem ] [ Warren Cemetery ] [ Wilkinson Cemetery ] [ Wycott Plantation Cemetery ]