New Garden

Limestone County Historical Society

Helping preserve history in Limestone County Alabama

 

The Old New Garden Cemetery
By
Linda Nelson

A cemetery is a history of the people and times of long ago. There are many old cemeteries in Limestone County, but the old section of the New Garden Cemetery is one of the oldest of our historic cemeteries in North Alabama. It is located near Elkmont where the New Garden Road dead-ends into this cemetery. This unfortunate location is the greatest threat to the future existence of this piece of history. Many vehicles failing to heed the stop sign have rendered a large portion of the gravestones into a pile of rubble.

The oldest existing gravestone is that of Barbara Fisher who died in 1831. She was born in 1759 years before America became an independent nation. There are older graves, but the stones are now gone.

Before modern medicine, it was not unusual for parents to bury several young children. James Grigsby lost his wife, Margaret, age 28, and their two sons William Currin, age 3, and Thomas Martindale, age 7, all in September of 1840. How the Redus family survived the deaths of children Lucy, almost 2, Edgar, 15 days, Medora, age 6, Mary Alice, age 13 months, and India, age 8 months, is more than we can grasp in our time.

The registration of Old New Garden with the Alabama Historical Commission as an Alabama Historic Cemetery is in progress. While documenting a cemetery does take considerable time and effort, we feel it well worth the time spent.

The Limestone County Historical Society has taken on the project of preserving and restoring the old section of the New Garden Cemetery. We have cleaned out the briars and underbrush and unearthed some hidden gravestones. We also looked across the expanse of the cemetery and saw the terrible destruction speeding or perhaps distracted motorists have inflicted on the old gravestones. A "giant jigsaw puzzle" might be a better description of a large part of this cemetery. Our county commissioner, Gary Daly, has provided us with a load of dirt as a barrier to help prevent further destruction. The restoration of the shattered stones will be a long and very expensive project. We hope to locate descendents of those buried there and other citizens who are willing to help with the labor and expense.

Donations to help with restoration of the cemetery may be mailed to:

L.C.H.S. P.O. BOX 82, ATHENS, AL 35612

For more information contact: Linda Nelson (256) 232-2867 or Don Frost (256)233=2878

Reprinted from the “Limestone Legacy” Volume 29 No 4, p 89, July 2007.

 

Recent letter and donation from a descendant of some of those buried in the “Old New Garden Cemetery”.

Linda Nelson, V.P.
L.C.H.S.
P .O.Box 82, Athens, AI, 35612

Thank you very much for the SAD yet enlightening article on the Old New Garden Cemetery. I can't describe the extent of emotions it generated in my memory banks.

My 2nd, great-grandparents are buried there. John Powell died in 1847; his first wife, family name-unknown, died perhaps the same period as Barbara Fisher. Then, their two older sons, Adam and Caleb died in their prime within 4 days of each other. One of them is buried there, perhaps both. Adam m. Anna K. Hodges and Caleb m. Martha Tinsley whose father and a partner owned a tannery in Athens.

At one time, I thought it would be viable for a Alabama anthropology class to go through the Old section of New Garden and take DNA samples of those buried there to help identify those who have descendants still living.

The above mentioned are the only ones in the Powell family other than those of Jacob Powell's children. Jacob was John's brother and also resided west of Elkmont adjacent to John. John's son, William Jackson, married Rebecca Frances Crutcher and they moved to Hempstead County, AR as did Jacob and most of his family.

Since not being present and accounted for during the "clean-up", I wish to help with the expense portion and therefore have enclosed a $500 check for that purpose. Please keep me posted via the LEGACY .

 

The Historical Society needs monitary help in the costly process of trying to reclaim and preserve the historic old section of the New Garden Cemetery. Donation can be sent to:

P.O. Box 82, Athens, AL 35612;

Attention: New Garden Cemetery Fund

 

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      Reference: Tombstone Inscriptions of Limestone County, Alabama, pp 338-340.
      Printed in the U. S. A.
      Compiled and Edited by Linda H. Smith

Copyright © 1993 Limestone County Historical Society, Athens, Alabama, All Rights Reserved.

 

Additional information on the cemetery can be found at:  www.findagrave.com .

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Work day at the Old New Garden Cemetery: Sept. 21 2007. 15 Elkmont School students and their principal; 3 Bible School students, the Mayor of Elkmont and 5 Historical Society members particapated in cleaning up the cemetery on Saturday monring.

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Part of Elkmont School work team.

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President Gerry Duke and students from Athens Bible School.

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Total clean-crew minus the photographer, Ellie Frost

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Copyright © 2007 Limestone County Historical Society, Athens, Alabama, All Rights Reserved.

Updated 9-4-2014