Monday, February 25, 2008

Cemeteries in Tennessee

I'm finding little tidbits of information, adding more flesh to the skeletons. Ironically, the information I am finding is from cemeteries which can be a wealth of data.

I found the burial place of Charles R. Featherston, my great-great grandfather. The cemetery is listed on the Dyer County page of the tngenweb site. Charles is buried in Shaw Cemetery in Dyer County. The vital information is also listed there. He was born Aug 6 1824 and died Jan 12 1873. His father, William Featherston, which would be my great-great-great grandfather, is buried there too. He died Jan 21 1870 at age 76. The cemetery is in danger of being abandoned. I can't find where or when Matilda, the mother of Charles' children, died and was buried although by sleuthing on the same website I found out she married Henry Hall in 1883 and was dead by 1900.

There was a sad notation about one of the abandoned cemeteries in Crockett County. According to Jonathan K. Smith, who compiled the cemetery inventory for the county, the African-American Nunn cemetery began as a slave burial ground. There are many graves here, some marked with cedar trees, but only one tombstone. The tombstone is for the daughter of my great-great aunt Mosella Koonce Dodson. It reads:

Fannie L. Dodson
30 Apr 1883 - Nov 11 1885
Daughter of J.D. & M. Dodson.

That means that the unmarked graves could very well be for other relatives of mine and I will never know who they are. It is also another piece of information that connects my family to the Nunns in some way.

My family maintains the New Cemetery (that's its name) in Crockett County. It was formerly known as Nunn Cemetery. This is where Solomon and his wife Cherry Koonce, my great-great grandparents James and Mary Jane Koonce, great-grandparents Willie and Lizzie Koonce are buried as well as several other relatives. I am very proud of the fact that the cemetery is still being used for family. I love the continuity. Mosella, mother of little Fannie is buried here and is the oldest grave. There are also graves as recent as 2005.

I must make a note to speak with my cousins who maintain the cemetery to see if they know anything about the old Nunn cemetery.

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