Barbour County Cemeteries A Bit Of History

Submitted by Richard Price

The following was reported in the Eufaula Tribune, Sunday July 9, 2000.  It
was written by Ann S. Smith, Tribune associate editor.  Due to length of the
article, I will present it in two or three installations.
"Cemeteries tell of famous and forgotten"

    Some are marked by small, humble piles of field stones.  Others have
simple boards of heart pine, the only decoration being a small circle design
cut into the top of the small board.  Others are mere sunken places in the
    They are the graves of pioneers, settlers, farmers and slaves who toiled
in the hot summer sun and endured winter in crude cabins or, later, sturdier
farm houses.
    Barbour County is filled with hundreds of graves that yield no clues
about the lives of the people who were buried in family plots and early rural
church cemeteries that do bear witness to the early settlers.
    Some have wrought iron fences around plots of the more well-to-do
families.  They are in areas of the county that are today remote, but where
communities of several hundred people once lived.  In some of the cemeteries,
later generations have placed markers.
    On a hot June afternoon, local history buff Margaret Clayton Russell
stands in the midst of a section of Mt. Serene Cemetery, in  a wooded area
off the Clayton Highway.  The straight pine boards on some of the unmarked
graves offer mute testimony to the lives of "simple farmers" who, Russell
laments, "lived, died and are forgotten."
    Descendants have fenced in and marked some of the graves at Mt. Serene,
where the markers placed in modern times on graves of pioneers John and Anna
L. Stewart tell us they were born in 1770 and 1777.  But Russell says dozens
of unmarked graves are scattered throughout the nearby woods.

Beauchamp Cemetery
Traveling on down to the old White Oak area, where a depot once stood to
accommodate rail traffic, Russell says we will have to climb up a "little
bank" to find the family burial ground of one of Barbour County's true
pioneers, Green Beauchamp.
    Along the way, abandoned sharecropper houses are lonely reminders of
those who didn't live in grand plantation houses or mansions in Eufaula and
    Beauchamp, whose Chronicles offer a glimpse into pioneer days in Barbour
County, came into the frontier about 1818, from Ft. Gaines, GA., Russell
informs her companion on the "cemetery field trip."
    Suddenly she slows down on the isolated dirt road, where carelessly
discarded beer cans are the only sign of civilization.  She backs up, pulling
to the side of the road.
    After climbing up the embankment and walking a few yards into the woods,
she finds the small Beauchamp family cemetery, where it appears the few
marble markers have recently been disturbed.
    "We need to do something about this," she comments, pointing out
gravesite of William R. Beauchamp, brother of Green Beauchamp.
    "He and his wife had seven or eight children who were raised by Green
Beauchamp and his wife after their parents died." she says.
    The cemetery markers document the short lives of many before the days of
modern medicine:
William R. Beauchamp, who died at age 18, and Asbury Beauchamp, who lived
only eight years.  "Marie Godfrey searched for years for Green Beauchamp's
grave, but she never was sure which one it was," Russell says.  But pointing
to a crude semi-circle of stones around a sunken area about the size of a
casket, she says she believes that is the final resting place of the early
pioneer who was only 17 years old when he came to the Creek country in 1818.
    Russell says Green Beauchamp was probably the last person buried in the
old cemetery.  In "Backtracking in Barbour County." Anne Kendrick Walker
writes that after Beauchamp's death, (1883) his wife, Caroline, who had no
children, left the settlement

2nd and final installation of article by Ann Smith, from the Eufaula Tribune,
Sunday, July 9, 2000.
Providence Cemetery
    On a down the dirt road, (this is actually on the paved section, Co. Rd.
79), a well maintained, (this is also questionable), Evans family cemetery
catches Russell's eye.  "All of these cemeteries were inventoried by Marie
Godfrey before she died," Russell says, as she approaches the Providence
Cemetery near Old Batesville.
    "There were a lot of people with money up in here," Russell says, and "a
lot of people from Ft. Browder, where a block house was built for defense
against the Indians.  There were probably 400 or 500 people here," Russell
    "There was an academy here, for the children of the plantation owners,"
she says.  A marker erected on Highway 82 by the Historic Chattahoochee
Commission tells the story of the Providence settlement, founded after the
Rev. J.W. Norton and his wife migrated here from South Carolina"with his
family and a wagon train of followers."  In 1835 he established the
Providence Methodist Church in the Old Batesville area.  "He was a real
pioneer," Russell says.
    The old Providence Cemetery is one of the better kept of Barbour's
hundreds of old rural cemeteries.  Iron fences surround several of the family
plots, and small square markers implanted in recent years mark dozens of
unidentified graves.  Again, the graves of infants and children are sad
reminders of a hard life in a world without the miracle of today's medicine.

Thornton family cemetery
    But perhaps the most intriquing-and saddest-stop on Russell's "field
trip" is at the remote Thornton family cemetery, on property owned by
Russell's father, the late Lee Clayton.  Driving along Lee Clayton Road,
Russell looks for a slight trench in the roadside embankment.  First she
passes it, but readily spots it after turning around.
    Well off the road, on a hillside that offers a view all the way back to
Eufaula during the winter months, is a burial ground Russell says contains
several hundred graves.
    It began as the Thornton plantation family cemetery.  Years ago, a trench
was dug around the Thornton family graves, and today one large marker notes
the lives of three family members.  But surrounding the family plot, going
far back into the woods, is evidence of countless unmarked graves.
    Russell quickly spots one of the simple pine markers, a broken kerosene
lamp and a broken pitcher.  She has written an account of her exploration of
the cemetery in 1987, when she and her father discovered numerous artifacts
places there by families of the hundreds of blacks who were buried there
after the Thorntons abandoned the area.  She says it was a common sight in
old black cemeteries in this part of the south to find the fragments of
vases, pitchers and sick room artifacts placed at the grave of the deceased.
    "Historical Atlas of Alabama, Volume 2, Cemetery Locations of Alabama,"
lists 178 cemeteries in Barbour County.  Within them stand hundreds of
markers inscribed with bits of information about the lives of those interred.
 But within them also are the resting places of hundreds of settlers,
farmers, slaves and free blacks, women and children, who, as Russell says,
"lived, died and are forgotten."


Home ] 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 ]

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11/26/2011 Last updated