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mike reeves (#47684672)
 member for 3 years, 9 months, 12 days
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Bio Photo Ancestral interest in the Reeves of Newton County, Mississippi, and Joneses of Elmore County, Alabama. Progeny are also related to the Blackwoods and Fords of Talladega County.

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. In 1845 Dr. Edward Gantt purchased the Sylacauga quarry subsequently named after him from John Herd. After the death of the eldest Herd brother, George, in 1853 their business in Winterboro went to his partners, H. P. Oden & Company. An "A. Herd & Bros." bill from 1855 reflects the cost of a 6 1/2' by 3' marble 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. Historian Kenneth M. Stampp recounted the average annual wage of a textile worker in the South during 1860 to have been $145.

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 1931 marble headstones were provided after an annual tax to members of the Mosaic Templars of America (MTA) of 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 relief upon the upper face of the stones. The two staffs represented the biblical exodus led by Moses and Aaron, with "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 zinc, "white bronze", and iron markers were used in the latter 19th Century. Cast cement slabs, headstones, and curbing have been commonly used since the early 20th Century. Whitewashing of the cement produced ersatz marble.

Cenotaphs are memorials placed in honor of deceased who lie elsewhere, such as the fourteen roadside Veterans Affairs (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 "... 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 a century before 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. Nevertheless, 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 compilation published in 1989. Then, in 2006, land developers said the cemetery was devoid of any graves... and an "eyesore". Ground-penetrating radar (GPR) scans followed by hand and backhoe trenching failed to disclose human remains. Monument and stones were then moved to a local 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 a score of Tennessee volunteers slain were recovered by the Andrew Jackson Chapter of the DAR and reinterred there in 1900. 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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African American Victoria... (24)
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Messages left for mike reeves (161)[Leave Message]
Eddie Smith
RE: Provdence Koosa annex
Mike thank you so much for your info. I am in search of my great grandparents who have the unusual names of Thomas and Mary Smith. Thomas passed in 1934 and Mary in 1951. I have both their obits and their death certificates and Usrey handled each death. All paperwork shows internment in "Providence". I went to the Providence Baptist Church on Providence Road off Jackson Trace Road and found neither. Can you help?
Added by Eddie Smith on Aug 01, 2015 6:08 PM
Eddie Smith
Provdence Koosa annex
Thanks for all your work. I am looking for a couple of relatives buried at Providence but they are not at the church cemetery. You had photographed and recorded a 'Koosa Annex." Can you tell me where it is?

Eddie Smith
Added by Eddie Smith on Aug 01, 2015 9:29 AM
Marie Comer
Wynn family graves
Hi Mike,
I believe from the findagrave site that you took the pictures of my Wynn family graves in Alpine/Winterboro, Al. I am trying to find the grave site and help restore it but have not been successful yet. Please let me know where it is and who's property it is on. Also any other information such as names, phone numbers, addresses of anyone I can contact about finding the site and restoring it!
Thank you so much,
Marie Comer
Added by Marie Comer on Jul 27, 2015 1:49 PM
L Ferree
Remson transfers
Thank you for the transfers. I am happy to accept them, but I don't really have any connection to them, other than that they are relatives of someone buried at Oakland, the cemetery I am documenting. Just wanted to make sure you intended to send them to me.
Added by L Ferree on Jun 19, 2015 7:40 AM
DD Talton
Thank you!
Thank you for the great picture of the gravestones of SA Dunn and his wife. I really appreciate your efforts--especially in this heat!
Doralyn Dunn Talton
Added by DD Talton on Jun 18, 2015 12:16 PM
Jewell Baker Photo
Thank you very much for the photo of my Aunt Jewell Bakers tombstone. I can see it clearly now. You are very much appreciated!
Added by GLiveoak on Jun 14, 2015 12:15 PM
Doug McBroom
RE: Tombstone picture
Mike, you certainly can use my "Unmarked Grave" picture. I also have one similar for those "Cremated". If you email me (, I'll gladly send you copies of both, although I was told by a member that we're not supposed to use them. I'm not sure why since without the picture, family members will continue requesting a picture of the tombstone. So, I've continued adding them. Doug McBroom, Aurora CO
Added by Doug McBroom on Jun 10, 2015 7:32 PM
W & L
James and Helen Colson Steen
Thank you for the photo. If you have other Steen pics from the cemetery I would appreciate them being posted. Gladly I would make a request if you can do that? Blessings
Added by W & L on Jun 09, 2015 11:00 AM
Doug McBroom
RE: Tombstone picture
Mike, are there any other ROWELL family members in the books you referenced? Harvey Thomas ROWELL (1906-1967) and wife Lucille CRITTENDEN (1900-1993), had only the one son Paul Douglas ROWELL (1935-2010). Harvey had one sister Dora LEE ROWELL (b a1903) that we've never located, so I thought she may be in your index. She may have married a Mr Dalton ERWIN, but we've never confirmed the marriage. Appreciate the help.
Doug McBroom (ROWELL Family)
Added by Doug McBroom on Jun 06, 2015 8:28 PM
Tom Glowacki
RE: Odis Mizzell
Yes, I agree. I do the same thing here in California.
Added by Tom Glowacki on Jun 05, 2015 8:00 PM
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