Rose Hill cemeteries abound near churches and other sites

Published 11:58pm Friday, October 8, 2010

In last week’s column, a review of the cemeteries in and around Rose Hill was begun.

Today, the others will be described.

It seems appropriate to share a quote by an unknown author: “A cemetery is a history of people—a perpetual record of yesterday and sanctuary of peace and quiet today. A cemetery exists because every life is worth loving and remembering—always.”

The Butler Cemetery is a small one, which is located in a pine grove about 100 yards from the Three Notch Road or the Rose Hill-Burnout Road about three miles east of Rose Hill on what is known as the Oscar Butler place.

It is fenced and maintained to some degree.

There are 16 graves that are marked and most have legible headstones.

It is known that two graves, Vershell Butler and his brother, were exhumed years ago and moved to the Pilgrim’s Rest Cemetery.

The earliest marked grave is that of Tempie E. Duskin (1856-1874), wife of Ed Duskin.

Five years later, Fannie Armena Butler, four-year old daughter of Rice and Mary E. (Sasser) Butler, was buried there in 1879.

Other families burying relatives there include Butlers, Baritine, Barrington, Carpenter, Gay, King and Wyatt.

The Williams Graveyard or Cemetery is one of the older burying places near Rose Hill.

It is located about four miles east of Rose Hill on the Rose Hill-Burnout Road (Co. Road 43).

The site is about one quarter of a mile north of the highway in a wooded area.

The surrounding land is currently owned by Rayonier Inc. Alabama Forest who assists and controls access to the cemetery.

It appears that the first burial was that of Jesse Bryan, an early settler in the area.

He owned the land, which passed to his daughter, Telatha (Bryan), and her husband, William Green Williams.

The property became known as the Williams place, and thus the Williams name was given to the cemetery.

Some has been written about this site in the past since there is an on-going effort to reclaim it to some degree and appropriately mark it for future generations.

The remaining stakes and estimated corners have been more visibly marked, and a trail for convenient access has been cleared.

It has been estimated that there might have been as many as 100 graves in the early 1900s and that some of them had the popular roofs with picket-type fences around them.

Sadly today, only small wooden stakes for seven graves have survived the ravages of time and neglect.

The many graves are for members of several early families who resided in the area: Bryan, Butler, Moody, Spicer, Turbeville, Williams and Wyatt.

The Mt. Gilead Baptist Church Cemetery is located adjacent to the church building on the south side.

It is located on County Road 69 about 2 and a half miles south of County Road 43.

According to a census of the graves made by Lisa Franklin and posted at her Web site, Tracking Your Roots, the first burial occurred in 1892, which was for Riley Martin Meadows, two-year old son of T.R. Meadows.

A few years ago at an Urquhart family reunion, a special memorial service to dedicate a marker at the grave of William Henry Urquhart, a Confederate Veteran who died in 1905, was conducted by the Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The church continues to be an active one, and members and descendants continue to be interred there.

The Pilgrim’s Rest Baptist Church, which was located on the Rose Hill-Dozier Road, was constituted on April 30, 1859, as a “Baptist Church of Christ of the primitive faith and order.”

Elders Allen Driskell and Daniel Dozier were the organizing presbyters.

According to Scott Smith’s history of the church, there is a record in the church’s minutes book that states that a cemetery was established, or that its property included a cemetery by the late 1880s.

There is a question as to why the cemetery was located on a hill some distance away from the building.

In his history, Scott Smith, commends those who maintain the cemetery in such excellent condition.

At the entrance, there are brick pillars with a marble tablet that admit one to a very peaceful and serene location.

There are no buildings, businesses, etc. to interrupt the quietness.

The cemetery continues to be regularly used as a burial ground for descendants of the former members of the church.

The Macedonia Methodist Church Cemetery is located adjacent to the building on the east side.

This site is on the north side of the Rose Hill-Burnout (Co. Rd. 43) about one mile east of Rose Hill.

Although the church dates back to around 1830, the earliest marked graves in the cemetery appear to bear the dates of the early 1880s.

The cemetery is well maintained and is still actively being used for the burial of church members and relatives.

The cemetery beside the Good News Chapel Baptist Church is one of the newer ones in the community.

Most of the grave markers are dated after 1950, about the time the church was established.

It is located about two and a half miles south of Rose Hill on the east side of County Road 49, which is now named Good News Chapel Road.

The last one in the Rose Hill community to be mentioned is the Rose Hill Cemetery, which is located on the south side of the Rose Hill-Dozier Highway, about a hundred yards north of the center of Rose Hill.

It is not known if a church ever existed near it, but the Rose Hill Masonic Lodge #253 was next to it.

The Lodge was organized in 1858, and there is available a roll of members dating from 1858 to 1900.

The Masonic building still stands, but it is in a non-usable condition.

Area residents also recall the cotton gin, which was operated near the cemetery.

The Rose Hill Cemetery is quite old and considered an historic location.

In the 1960s, Mrs. Riley P. Taylor and Mrs. William Albritton, two history-minded citizens of Andalusia, made a census of the graves existing at that time.

The earliest marked grave appears to be that for John Randolph Baisden, Jr., the two-year old son of John R. Baisden, Sr. who died in 1866.

However, some of the oldest graves were marked with wooden stakes that have long ago disappeared.

Some recall how there were the popular little houses with roof and picket fence over some of the early graves.

There are definitely some very old graves for early residents and leaders of the Rose Hill community.

There are graves for about 15 men who were most likely veterans of the War Between the States.

A few years ago, the Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans conducted a memorial service at the gravesite of Confederate Veteran Elisha K. Flournoy (1838-1889), but only a few of the other potential veterans’ graves have been marked to show their service.

The residents of Rose Hill are truly appreciative of the history of the area and quite proud of it being the resting place for so many in the different burial grounds.

The sources for this writing on cemeteries include local history publications and conversations with area residents.

The writer wishes to know if there are any corrections to the above history or if any cemeteries in the Rose Hill community have been overlooked.

The coverage was begun in last week’s column with several of the cemeteries being reviewed in it.

The writer, Curtis Thomasson, may be contacted at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or e-mail: cthomasson@centurytel.net.

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