McQueen Cemetery to be nominated for historic registry

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another cemetery that is almost forgotten except by a few local citizens bears the name of McQueen or McQuien, which in recent years has also been referred to as the McQueen/Cassady Cemetery. This burying ground is located a few miles east of Andalusia and south of U.S. Hwy. 84. Specific directions are going east on U.S. Hwy. 84, turn right onto Leon Wiggins Road and proceed to where it dead ends. Then turn right onto Whatley Road, and the cemetery is about one fourth mile behind the first small brick house located on the right side of the road. A GPS location is N 31 degrees and 15.333 minutes and West 86 degrees and 22.95 minutes. Velt Newton owns approximately 40 acres of land that surrounds the cemetery.

Dennis Murphy, Velt Newton, Jimmy Cobb and Curtis Thomasson at the cemetery site.

There has been a recent effort to collect as much information as is currently known about the cemetery and the names of the people who were interred there. Mr. Newton states that when he was a young man, there were as many as 100 graves with most having wooden markers. Today, there are only four stone markers that have survived the forces of nature over the years.

Some years earlier, there was a road through Haron Cassady’s property to the cemetery, but this path was closed to the public. Since that time, Velt Newton has allowed passage through his acreage along a trail, which he maintains for access to his property.

On Feb. 2, 2011, four interested men were directed to the site by Mr. Newton. Vaughn Bowers, Jimmy Cobb and Curtis Thomasson are members of the Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Andalusia, and there is at least one Confederate Veteran and probably others buried in the small cemetery. Dennis Murphy of Opp was on the tour to gather information for submitting an application to have the cemetery listed on the Alabama Registry of Historic Cemeteries.

The visitors found the cemetery to be in fair condition even though many trees have grown up through some areas of the cemetery where graves are known to exist. There is a wire fence surrounding the cemetery, but sections of it have fallen down over time. At least there are posts all along and four distinct corner posts. There is a gate that stands open, so the approximately 32 yards square area is easily recognized.

It has been learned that some men from the nearby Oakey Ridge Baptist Church took it upon themselves to regularly maintain the cemetery. The ones identified to this writer were Randy Barefoot, Randall McCart and Tommy Green. It is hoped that these men will continue this valuable community service. Through the years, the main person who has shown concern over the cemetery is Mrs. Evelyn (Turner) Moseley of Opp. Her parents, maternal grandparents and uncle are buried there.

The cemetery would have most likely been given its name in honor of John Alexander McQuien, a veteran of the Confederate Army who is the ancestor of most McQueen descendants in the area. John Alexander rendered Confederate service in Company A of the Sixth Alabama Infantry Regiment. He was born in 1821 in Sandersville, Ga., and made his way to Covington County sometime after 1860. His son, George W. McQueen, seems to be the one who began using that spelling of the name. George’s wife was Eliza Casady, and many of her Casady relatives were buried in the cemetery. That is why it is sometimes called the Casady/McQueen Cemetery.

According to the Alabama Civil War Service Database at the Alabama Department of Archives and History, John Alexander McQuien enlisted in 1862 at China Grove, Ala., and was assigned to Company A, Sixth Alabama Infantry Regiment. However, his tombstone indicates it was in the cavalry rather than infantry. He served for a total of three years, three months in the States of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Florida. He was discharged April 1865 and paroled at Meridian, Miss.

It appears the family of John Alexander McQuien moved to Covington County fairly soon after the war ended. In various records his last name is recorded as McQuien, and it is spelled McQueen by many of his descendants.

The men visiting the McQueen Cemetery found the following graves with headstone markers: John Alexander McQueen, b. 4-16-1821, with his Confederate service, Co. A, 6th Ala. Cav. (Inf. ?) engraved; Frances Sylvester Victoria (McQueen), b. 6-26-1855, d. 5-31-1927; Levi Augustus Casady, b. 11-6-1882, d. 9-29-1904; and William T. Paulk, b. 8-12-1848, d. 2-29-1906. There is also a small foot marker to the right of Paulk’s grave where his wife, Amanda (McQuien), is probably buried, but there is no marker. Two graves are surrounded by concrete coping and are covered by marble chips. The name Turner is engraved at the foot, and the identity of the two has been learned. Evelyn (Turner) Moseley reports that they are her parents, Thomas Duval Turner and Catherine Evy (Casady) Turner.

Evelyn Moseley also indicated that her maternal grandfather, John Newton Casady is buried beside his wife, Frances Sylvester Victoria (McQueen) whose grave is marked. Another Casady descendant, Gene Casady, reported that his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. John D. Casady, are buried there along with Gene’s young sister, Jamie Wynell Casady. He further stated that several of his Casady relatives are buried there in unmarked graves.

Appreciation is expressed to those who have maintained and shown interest in the cemetery through the years and to several individuals who provided information for this writing: Velt Newton, Evelyn (Turner) Moseley, Evelyn (Wiggins) Murphree, Gene Casady, and Chuck McQuien, a descendant who is researching the McQuien family.

This writer, Curtis Thomasson, would like to gather more information about the cemetery and specifically the names of as many people as possible who were buried there. Those with information is requested to contact him at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-222-6467; or e-mail: