As one of our projects, students are going out to identify, plat, photograph, and in some cases, clean up old, abandoned cemeteries. They are learning the cultural significance of these kinds of sites. Click on the link for each cemetery below to find the information collected by these students.
- Friend McMahon Stewart Family Cemetery
- Davis Cemetery
- Smith Children Cemetery
- Jasper City Cemetery
- Ryall Cemetery
- Byerly Campground Cemetery
- Smyth Cemetery
- Little Hope Cemetery
- Hardy Cemetery
HISTORY OF THE JASPER CITY CEMETERY
All records describing the origins of the Jasper City Cemetery were burned in a tragic fire at the Jasper County Courthouse in 1849. However, historians in the area have been able to piece together most of the missing facts. Much of our information was recorded by a former City of Jasper Mayor, Marvin P. Hancock. Mayor Hancock wrote a history of the Cemetery and filed it in the deed records to help prevent a loss of the information that he had gathered. (a copy of this history is attached). The rest of the information in this paper either came from Women’s Civic Club documents, Jasper Cemetery Association records, “Deeds” conveying cemetery burial plots, and Jasper City Council meeting minutes.
The Jasper City Cemetery, or Old Jasper Cemetery, is the final resting place to pioneers, war heroes, cultural icons, musicians, business people, workers mothers and, children. Our ancestry can history can be found there. We must honor and respect our history and those who came before us. For this reason, the struggles to create and preserve the cemetery should be remembered.
In 1838 an Application was made to incorporate the town of Jasper. A town site plot was filed in the deed records. Within this original plot was a tract described as Outlot 67. A copy of the original townsite plot is attached to this History. Outlot 67 contained approximately 10 acres of land. It is located on North Main Street, just to the north of the Trinity Episcopal Church. A satellite photograph of the cemetery location is attached to this History. Also attached is an old drawing of the cemetery grounds, describing the location of many of the old family burial plots.
It is believed that this Outlot was owned by the McFarlane Family, and was deeded to the town for the purposes of establishing a city cemetery. However, the courthouse fire destroyed this record, and it was never re-filed. The city did not adequately maintain the grounds, and no one was caring for the graves. The cemetery fell into great disrepair. It got covered in weeds, vines, leaves, and probably some trash that left on it. Animals grazed there.
In 1919 the women of Jasper organized as the Women’s Civic Club and decided in a meeting to make a project to fix up the cemetery. They became the unofficial caretakers of the cemetery, and began deeding plots to families as a way to raise money for the continued maintenance of the grounds. The Club solicited funds, hired a caretaker, and petitioned the City Council for help and resources. In 1931 the City Council voted to provide the cemetery with up to 5,000 gallons of water per month. In 1952, the City Council voted to contribute $25 per month to the Club to help with upkeep of the Cemetery.
In 1952 the Women’s Civic Club formed the “Cemetery Civic Club Committee“. The chairman was Tempic Lanier, the secretary Luce Frank Blake and the care taker was Mr. Joe McQueen . By 1958, the Club name had changed to the one currently in use, the “Jasper Cemetery Association”. Many great developments occurred at the Cemetery following that time, including the erection of rock pillar entrance markers donated by the Jasper Garden Club, and the Chamber of Commerce. Unfortunately, Tempie Lanier’s house burned and this destroyed all
records in her possession of the activities of the Association.
By 1979, apparently, the cemetery had once again fallen into disrepair. On May 12, 1980, the City of Jasper assumed the responsibility for the care and upkeep of the cemetery, by vote at a City Council Meeting. The City began deeding plots to families. Donations to the cemetery were directed to be made to a bank account held by the city. The Jasper Cemetery Association however, continued to exist, and has acted as an informal committee of the City of Jasper, handling the cemetery affairs, and requesting funds from the bank account as needed. The City provided $300 per year in funds to the Association, and provided dirt as needed. However, in 2008, the cemetery had again fallen into a state
of need. The City was requested by the Association and the public to make needed repairs and upkeep. The City voted not to maintain the cemetery or provide funds. The Jasper Cemetery Committee convened and is now in the process of incorporating to allow it to assume possession and control of the cemetery and to continue the business of caring for the cemetery. As Mayor Hancock stated, the cemetery is the “backbone of our City” and every person here, newcomer or native, benefits from the work of the people buried there. We must preserve and maintain the Cemetery.
By Tommy Stover