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mike reeves (#47684672)
 member for 2 years, 11 months, 23 days
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Bio Photo My family interests are in the Reeves of Newton County, Miss. and Joneses of Elmore County, Ala., who migrated out of Georgia during the 1850-1880 period.

Local historical interest in Talladega County, Alabama, formed in 1832 from land purchased from Creeks at Treaty of Cusseta. Compilers of published cemetery records of Talladega County, Carolyn Lane Luttrell and Joseph W. & Francis S. Upchurch, observed decades ago that stones had already "...disappeared through erosion of time, vandalism, and bulldozers." As lamented of the Marble Springs Presbyterian Church Cemetery site by E. Grace Jemison in "Historic Tales of Talladega": "There are now only a few people who have so much as a memory of the once sacred spot".

Antebellum planters and Victorian era farmers had family burial plots upon their own land. Pioneer church consecrated ground lay fallow after congregations moved. Alabama law, Act 2007-4008, allows access to grave sites by family members and researchers who provide reasonable notice to property owners. Land owners normally accommodate polite requests to photograph gravestones without an impolite citation of state law. Code of Alabama Section 13A-11-12 states any person who willfully defaces or removes a gravestone has committed a misdemeanor, which has a one year statute of limitation. The disturbance of buried remains is a felony.

The oldest marble headstones and slabs in Talladega County, dated from 1830 to 1860, were sometimes inscribed with the name of the local quarry or agent. The Herd Brothers and Richard Miller were the first marble quarriers in the county. Dr. Edward Gantt purchased the Sylacauga quarry subsequently named after him from John Herd in 1845. H. P. Oden & Co. were successors to the Herd business in Winterboro in 1855, following the death of the eldest Herd, George. An "A. Herd & Bros." bill from 1855 reflects the cost of a 6 1/2' by 3' slab to have been $35, with clasped hands sculpted for $5 and letters cut at 5 cents apiece, for a total cost of $56.10 to be paid within a year. The relative cost of that finished stone would be approximately $1,560 in today's dollars.

African American marble headstones from the late Victorian era are seldom seen, less than a dozen at the two oldest public cemeteries, Oakhill and Westview, in Talladega. From 1914 until 1930 marble headstones were provided after an annual tax to members of the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA) in Little Rock, Arkansas. Many of these MTA members, formed in local "Chambers", had endured slavery and witnessed emancipation. Chamber stones are approximately 28" in height and 16" in width, with a rounded and forward sloping top. The MTA symbol, encircled letters "M","T","A" and "3V's" spaced within crossed shepherd staffs, is cut in bas-relief upon the upper face of the stones. The two staffs represent the biblical exodus led by Moses and Aaron, and "3V's" for " Veni, Vedi, Veci "; I Came, I Saw, I Conquered.

Those insured from 1890 thru 1930 by the Woodmen of the World (WOW) Life Insurance Society of Omaha, Nebraska, received distinctive marble tree stump markers which were normally 4'-5' in height. Although initially free to WOW policy holders, by 1900 a $100 rider was required to cover their expense. The sculpted stones were discontinued in 1930 due to having become cost prohibitive. These monuments are also seen with, or as, stacked cut logs. The WOW logo with symbolic axes, mallets, and wedges are carved onto the stone trees. Scrolls are often depicted, suspended on ropes or attached to the trees, and "Dum Tacet Clamet"; Though Silent, He Speaks.

Sandstone from local quarries, such as the one at S. M. Jemison's farm on Kelly Creek, was used for headstones and obelisks from 1845 thru 1870. This "mustard colored" stone was said to have been attractive when first cut. Sandstone blocks, one inscribed "1862", were used to build the wall enclosing Sunnyside, aka "Jemison", Cemetery. Fieldstone and flagstone markers, some with etched names, are in rural and urban plots. Cast cement slabs and headstones, ersatz marble when whitewashed, have been commonly used since the early 20th Century.

Cenotaphs are memorials placed in honor of deceased who lie elsewhere, such as the fourteen roadside Veterans Administration (VA) headstones on private property near Cook Place (aka "Taylor-Cook") Cemetery and the seventy-something VA stones at Ft. Williams Military Memorial Park. "Arrow Points", monthly publication of the Alabama Anthropological Society, noted the chartering of The Fort Williams Memorial Association with the intent "... to do honor to the Tennesseans long buried at old Ft. Williams on the Coosa" in their April-May 1926 edition, a decade after Lay Dam was built downriver. An inscribed marble boulder and VA headstones for over seventy soldiers slain during the Creek War of 1813-1814 were placed at the site during 1933-1937. In the 1950's, Rev. Randolph F. Blackford reported in "Fascinating Talladega County" that the actual burials were covered in backwaters of the dam, while E. Grace Jemison related in "Historic Tales of Talladega" of the vote by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) in 1929 to purchase an acre of land at Ft. Williams "...where 80 of Andrew Jackson's soldier's were buried." The site was added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks in 1976. Joseph and Francis Upchurch said the site lacked actual burials in their county cemetery compilations published in 1989. Then, in 2006, land developers said the cemetery was devoid of any graves and an "eyesore". Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) scans of a portion of the site followed by hand and backhoe trenching failed to disclose any human remains. The monument and stones were all moved to a memorial park and the site improved with private estates on Lay Lake.

Skeletal remains of soldiers do actually lie beneath the "Battle of Talladega" (aka "Jackson Pyramid") monument at Oak Hill Cemetery. Over half the remains of almost a score of Tennessee volunteers slain were recovered by the Andrew Jackson Chapter of the DAR and relocated there prior to the centennial celebration in 1913. The sixty-four "Unknown Confederate Soldier" VA headstones in two parallel rows at Oak Hill also mark the burial places of soldiers, although they weren't unknown at the time of their deaths. Soldiers who died in the local hospital or conscript camp were buried with wooden markers identifying them, but the grave markers deteriorated in time until those beneath were "Known but to God".

An in-the-ground interment, marked or otherwise, is no longer the cultural norm in our society. Data from the National Funeral Directors Association reflects the cremation rate in this country rose from 3.5% to 43% during the past fifty years, with almost 20% of Alabamians in 2012 having elected "ashes to ashes".

Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
Of princes, shall outlive this powerful rhyme;
But you shall shine more bright in these contents
Than unswept stone, besmear'd with sluttish time.

Sonnet 55
Wm. Shakespeare (1564-1616)
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Messages left for mike reeves (137)[Leave Message]
Don Atwell
RE: Allie Murdock Reeves (1827-1905) Headstone photo
Thanks Mike, sure use the photo that's what it's for.

Added by Don Atwell on Nov 21, 2014 7:43 PM
Elaine Key
Francis Marion Meeks, Sr.
Francis Marion Meeks, Sr. is my grandfather. I saw the picture you contributed on this website. How can I get a copy of this picture?
Added by Elaine Key on Nov 03, 2014 12:35 AM
M, J. McKenna
Hello, Mike, I looked at Mr. Kirkland's memorial tonight, and then went on to browse the cemetery.
It appears I did a poor job in explaining what I wanted, so now, instead of my husband's name for sponsor, we have Salina and Sarah sponsored with his user name. No hurry, but when you get the opportunity, would you mind changing those two to my initials only, MJM? I looked at the editing options and there didn't seem to be anything targeted for transferring sponsorship.

Thanks so much,

Michelle McKenna
Added by M, J. McKenna on Oct 20, 2014 2:01 AM
RE: Wynn & Keith family member memorials
Thank you Mike,
Walter Wynn married my great-Aunt Effie Keith Wynn. They had several children, one of which was the one I mentioned, I think it was Willie G. Wynn. I'm not sure who the other people are or how the link to me. They don't have to be transferred to me, but I would appreciate a picture. Thank you for all your help!! Especially the pictures of Ish and Ressa Keith. They were my Great-Grandparents. Walter married their daughter Effie.
Added by Ikeith on Oct 19, 2014 6:54 AM
Jenifer Rd Cemetery
Mike, I will Be in Oxford probably tomorrow or sat. and I plan to be there most of this week. When I get there I will contact you or you can call me on my cell and we can either meet up over in that area or somewhere out there near the hwy to go to the cemeteries if possible. Thank you, you are a great help. Penny
Added by Penny on Oct 17, 2014 2:14 PM
L Ferree
RE: Allen Elston cemetery
I'm going to go ahead and add David to the cemetery. Especially since cemetery description says his wife took possession of the cemetery in 1868. If you find any information against this, please let me know and I'll remove it. I hate plops, but this is one where the preponderance of evidence seems to point to this place. Thanks for your help.
Added by L Ferree on Oct 16, 2014 10:00 AM
L Ferree
Allen Elston cemetery
I saw an Ancestry tree that has David Hamilton Remsen (or Remson) buried in the Allen Elston cemetery. (His wife was an Elston.) This makes sense as the family lived there when he died in 1865. Just wondered if you have any opinion one way or another? Would love to have a memorial for him to link to his family buried in Atlanta, but don't want to plop on speculation. (I am not related.)
Added by L Ferree on Oct 16, 2014 8:40 AM
Jenifer Rd. Cemetery
Hello Mike, well today is Wed. I plan to be there probably about Mon or Tues. I have a few other places I will be visiting prior to getting there so it will be during the week for sure. I am staying in Oxford at my aunts house. Hope to see you soon.
Added by Penny on Oct 15, 2014 7:37 AM
Cemetery Quests
Hello Mike, well I plan to be in your area sometime after Sun of next week. I will be checking in here from time to time on this trip so I will NOT miss your message to me.
Added by Penny on Oct 11, 2014 12:03 AM
RE: Richard M. Kirkland
Mike - Thank you so much for the update. You have the most businesslike approach to keeping up with pertinent information, and it is much appreciated. I had no idea that relatives of Richard Kirkland's second wife were buried here. All of the information you have provided about this cemetery has been both interesting and useful.
Added by LGH on Oct 07, 2014 10:22 PM
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