By: Sid Riley
There is a small group of very dedicated Jackson County citizens who are working diligently on a patriotic, worthwhile project. They are members of the Theophilus West, M.D. Camp 1346, Sons Confederate Veterans, and have volunteered to take on the monumental task of locating every grave yard in Jackson County that contains graves of confederate soldiers.
Once these graves have been located, the grave site is recorded through GPS, the soldier’s history researched and recorded, and existing grave markers are repaired, restored, or replaced with new headstones provided by the Veterans Administration. Thereafter, on Confederate Memorial Day and on Memorial Day, memorial flags will be placed on each grave for these holidays. This is a tedious, tiring, yet very rewarding task being performed by these volunteers.
Many of these graves are located in forgotten or even lost, small family grave sites. Recently they located a site after searching for over six months. This family graveyard was originally known as the Robinson Family Cemetery which was initially thought to be somewhere in East Jackson County. Then they discovered that the name of the Cemetery had been changed to the "Carter’s Mill Road Cemetery", which then led the group to the discovery of the old graveyard in a field a short distance from the road. If you travel Carter’s Mill Road past Marianna Garden Apartments, around the sharp curve and look to your left, the graveyard is visible from the road.
This was apparently once the site of the Robinson Plantation, and the graves of Jacob and Isaac Robinson are there. Isaac was a Captain in the U.S. Army and fought in the Indian Wars. His headstone was reportedly placed by Governor John Milton. Another rebel soldier, John Widgen is also buried there.
The SAR volunteer "graves detail", (which consists of Ashley Pollette of Grand Ridge, Robert Daffin, of Marianna, Larry Clere, of Grand Ridge, Delmer Tillman, of Marianna, Mike Branch, of Grand Ridge, and Max Basford of Lovedale), will be cleaning the grave sites and remounting the grave markers this weekend. Another "lost cemetery" in Jackson County will have been rediscovered.
The project began approximately eighteen months ago and is only scratching the surface in relationship to the task at hand. The first grave that was marked and restored was the grave of Captain H.O. Bassett, the confederate officer who was killed during the Battle of Marianna. He was killed near the site of Jim’s Buffet and Grill on Lafayette Street, and his body was so badly mutilated by enraged Yankee troops that it initially was unidentifiable. The unfortunate Captain just happened to have come home to Marianna on leave and was thus here to participate in the Battle of Marianna.
Another grave that was located after extensive search and research, and was finally restored at the Riverside Cemetery was that of Confederate James H. Britt. In total, some twenty five Confederate graves have been recorded and restored thus far. Cemeteries that have had Confederate graves GPS marked and recorded include, the Bascom Baptist Church Cemetery, The Bascom Methodist Church Cemetery, The Bazzell Family Cemetery, and The Braxton Cemetery.
Lost Cemeteries that have been lost or destroyed include:
- Rocky Creek (African American), County may have paved over part of cemetery. Part of site can be seen in yard of mobile home in area. One grave has name of "Pooser".
- Hawley’s Cemetery (near ACI), This family cemetery was located near site of Seminole Lodge. Head stones were found when boat area was dredged. There is a Hawley Street in Sneads named for this family.
- Compass Lake Cemetery (African American), all headstones were stolen. Believed to have been carried to Polk County where a house was found to have headstones as blocks under the house.
- Greensboro Cemetery, Dr. Goddard was buried there and had a large, marble headstone which was bulldozed away by property owners.
- Miles Family Cemetery, all headstones were bulldozed away in 1940’s. Graves were later moved to Springhill. Judge McCrary instructed Phillip Farris to fence the Miles Cemetery, which was on his property. Phillip Farris is credited with destroying the headstones.
- Crutchfield Cemetery, all headstones were cleared and a field is there now. One headstone has been recently put by the road that was a Confederate soldier headstone.
- The Byrd (or Bird) Cemetery, River Road north of Sneads. Was destroyed during the late 1970’s. The cemetery was bulldozed and the remains of the iron fence that bordered the site can now be seen under a pile of rocks.
- The Shores Mill Cemetery, is located in the southwest quadrant of Jackson County. This is cemetery #175 from the WPA survey. Directions were " from the depot in Round Lake go north on US 231 for one mile, turn right on dirt road and go 1 5/10 miles to cemetery which lies 40 feet to right. This location is now planted pines with no remains of cemetery visible. The cemetery existed into the 1940’s.
- Scurlock Cemetery, all graves and headstones bulldozed.
- Cook and Beauchamp Family Cemetery, apparently plowed under, no tombstones found.
- Simpson Cemetery, not found, location unknown.
If you have any information on any of these sites please contact a member of the group. Their web site provides more information on their activities at www. scvcamp1346.org