Mystery marker appears in one of oldest cemeteries in county
Published 1:59 am Saturday, November 8, 2008
Today, this column presents a quest writer, Lisa Franklin, who has worked diligently to preserve the history of this area. She has published several books of cemetery censuses, and she maintains a very informative web site in which she makes considerable genealogy and historical records available to interested persons. A number of individuals make monthly contributions to support the funding for the Web site.
Lisa Franklin, an Alabama native, currently residing in Houston, Texas, recently visited the area and, along with her cousin, Peggy Chesteen, and good friend, Joan Hidle, and the assistance of local resident, Lamar Everage, successfully relocated the Teel Cemetery. Franklin and Hidle stumbled upon Teel cemetery back in 1995-1996 while compiling a series of volumes of Covington County tombstone inscriptions, which has since been published on the internet with free public access at Franklin’s Web site, www.trackingyourroots.com.
Franklin and Hidle noted a lot has changed in the Teel cemetery in the 14 years since their original visit to the site. This location is deep in the woods off of Padgett Branch Road and beyond the Conecuh River Baptist Church and its cemetery.
For starters, back in 1995 there were only five markers to be found in the cemetery: John, Nancy, Bennett and James Teel and Derinda Kinlaw. Kinlaw’s marker was a loner standing off a bit from the others, and it was only found by accident when Franklin and Hidle nearly stumbled over it. It was nearly encased by a shrub at that time. In 14 years that shrub has become a tree and the cemetery markers are actually easier to see now as all the shrubby growth has developed into trees providing a woodsy covering that has eliminated most of the low growth in the area.
Today, however, there is a sixth marker, and therein lies the mystery.
Lamar Everage stated during the recent visit that no one seems to know who or when the mystery marker was placed. The marker, a genealogist’s dream, is evidently the result of a lot of time and research on the part of a descendant of Jeremiah Dixon, the monuments’ honoree. The monument, evidently placed by a rightly proud descendant proclaims:
In memory of Jeremiah Dixon, June 15, 1746-July 26, 1835
Jeremiah served as a pvt, in Capt. Sharp’s company, 10th reg. under Gen. Wm. Washington and Henry Light Horse Harry Lee, the father of Robert E. Lee in the continental army of NC from 1778 to 1781. His wife, Elizabeth Goff Dixon died 1840. Their children:
Mary Apr 4, 1790-
Seth P. 1788-
Elizabeth L. May 26, 1795-
Sophrena Aug 23, 1795-
Wiley B Nov 17, 1791-Nov 2, 1872
John Bonaparte May 16, 1804-
Research shows that a Jeremiah Dixon fitting this description did serve in the Revolutionary War and was married to one Elizabeth Goff. Furthermore, it appears that a pension application filed with his name likely included family Bible records, as is sometimes the case for the lucky genealogist. Jeremiah was readily located on the 1830 census as a resident of Covington County, so that he existed and that he lived in Covington County is not the mystery. Historian Rex Everage has stated, “Reason and a strong family tradition hold that Jeremiah Dixon was buried across the Conecuh River from his farm.”
Who placed Dixon’s marker in this overgrown cemetery in the woods, however, is still a mystery. Lamar Everage stated during the recent outing that he had attempted to learn who had placed the marker and had even contacted a local monument company, but no one seems to know when, or how the maker got there.
This has Franklin’s interest peaked because if there is documentation to prove that Jeremiah Dixon was indeed buried in the woods here in 1835, then Teel Cemetery is one of the county’s oldest known cemeteries, predating Fairmount Baptist Church Cemetery in Red Level by at least some 16 years. Franklin would like to hear from anyone with any information on who placed the monument and the source for Jeremiah Dixon’s having been buried in Teel cemetery. If we can document Teel cemetery existed that far back, the implications are that others of the areas pioneer settlers may be buried there—some of Franklin’s own ancestors as well.
Appreciation is expressed to Lisa Franklin for writing and submitting today’s story for our readers. Anyone who has additional information on the Dixon tombstone or the historic Teel Cemetery is requested to Contact Lisa or Curtis Thomasson at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or Email: email@example.com.
The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be assisting the Colquett family in honoring their Confederate Ancestor John Wesley Colquett by unveiling a marker at his gravesite. The ceremony will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 15, in the Bullock Cemetery, located next to the Friendship Baptist Church on Co. Hwy 43 in Crenshaw County. Guests are cordially invited to attend.
The Covington Historical Society will hold its annual covered dish dinner and meeting at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, at the Sunshine House at 501 Stanley Avenue. Guests are welcome to share this period of fellowship and see the 2009 officers installed.