A Walking Tour of the Clay Hill Graveyard at Allison Creek Presbyterian Church
November 1, 2018
In 2003, John Cloninger took George Meyer into the woods to the east of the cemetery next to the church and showed him several old headstones marking graves in a “slave graveyard”. After that George became interested and began to see what he could find out about it, and undertook the task of locating the graves, identifying the occupants where possible, and locating the perimeter of the graveyard more precisely.
A few of the graves were marked with inscribed head stones, others were simply marked with field stones placed at the head of the graves, and many were unmarked but could be located by depressions in the ground. Initially the visible headstones were identified with small red flags. After that the unmarked depressions were marked, in 2009 the flags were replaced with more permanent aluminum rods with white Fleur-De-Lis finials.
In 2008, Brian Elgort undertook the task of clearing debris from the graveyard and constructing a path around the perimeter as his Eagle Scout project… Baird Engineering volunteered to help by preparing a plat of the graveyard.
By the end of 2006, more than 200 graves had been located. The graves appeared to lie within five separate groups. Fourteen graves with legible inscribed headstones were found within the five groups. Additional grave-sites were found when the graves were re-marked in 2009. Gaulden Monuments Inc. was hired to repair, clean and reset the damaged engraved headstones at that time. The total number of gravesites identified is now more than 300.
In 2010 Gaulden Monuments was hired to make seven monuments to place along the path. The Monuments are intended to point out the locations of the five groups along with the names of the people buried there. The groups are as follows:
Group 1 (Near the south west limit of the graveyard)
|Feb. 8, 1844
|May 15, 1780
|Jul 16, 1870
|Aug. 2, 1862
|Jun. 10, 1868
|May 28, 1880
|May 28, 1880
There appear to be approximately 126 graves in this general area.
Group 2 (Near south east limit of the graveyard)
There appear to be approximately 15 graves in this general area. Only one grave has an inscribed stone.
Fannie Dau(ghter) of
John & Jamie
Born Feb 15 1895
Jan 28 1896
Group 3 (Near eastern limit of the graveyard)
|Apr. 9, 1887
There appear to be approximately 42 graves in this general area.
Group 4 (Near center of the graveyard)
|Dec. 24, 1884
|May 16, 1895
|Feb. , 1893
|Oct. 17, 1870
|Dec. 5, 1895
|Nov. 5, 1890
Group 5 (Near North West limit of the graveyard)
There appear to be approximately 58 graves in this general area plus another 8, slightly to the east of the larger group.
At first, only one inscribed stone was found in the group. The surface of the stone is extremely rough which makes the inscription very difficult to read. We believe the translation of the inscription shown below is accurate.
To The Memory
This Life May 21st
1859 Age 64 Years
There is also a broken stone near this stone, the part with the inscription has not yet been found. In addition to that, another headstone was found to the west of Mrs. Steele’s headstone overturned and buried under debris. It was later restored and reset by Gaulden Monuments. The inscription on it reads:
Dau(ghter) Of Charlie
Aug 20 1893
Died July 10 1895
If you have enjoyed your tour and would like to contribute to the maintenance of this important bit of local history, you can contribute to the “Common Ground Fund” on the home page or make a donation at the site. Funds from the account are used to keep the path and graveyard free of fallen debris and making such repairs to the grave markers as may become necessary.