The Old New Garden Cemetery
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.