Stories from Davis Cemetery
by Rick Watson
Mar 11, 2012 | 1240 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Rick Watson
Rick Watson
I love old cemeteries. When Jilda and I went to Ireland several years ago, we spent a great deal of time walking through old cemeteries.

It was not uncommon to see cemeteries by old stone churches that were covered with emerald colored moss as thick as carpet. Some of the graves were hundreds of years old with Gaelic headstones showing the traditional cross in a circle. We enjoyed trying to find familiar names. You can never tell when you might find some roots to your family tree.

Many cemeteries we visited were by the ocean. At one cemetery we sat on a stone bench and listened to the pounding surf, and smelled the salt in the breeze. It was so peaceful there — it looked like a good place for eternal rest.

Later when we traveled to Boston, again we found ourselves wandering through cemeteries. Some of the older cemeteries had markers that were from the 16 and 17 hundreds. It’s rare to find a marker that old here in Alabama.

About five years ago, I got the idea to put the cemetery where my family is buried online. My friend Janice Hicks Bennett gave me a list of names that she’d compiled and I started from there.

I though it would be interesting to not only list the names, but to take pictures of the gravestones, and pictures of the people.

I started with my family, and then branched out to other families. It’s a project that could take years, but I feel that it’s important work. The end result would be a historical record of the people that lived here.

A natural next step would be to add stories, family connections or even audio and video of our ancestors.

One of the biggest obstacles is that I don’t have access to the pictures, YouTube videos, audio or family histories for most of the people buried at Davis Cemetery. Maybe this story will generate some interest.

Another aspect of cemeteries is upkeep. Some of the sites are well maintained, but others are in bad shape. I know it’s hard work keeping a cemetery up. We struggle at Davis to keep the cemetery maintained.

Most cemetery committees hope to collect enough money on decoration day each summer to maintain the site throughout the year, but often the amount of money donated falls short.

I’m on the board of Davis Cemetery and we plan to have a cleanup day on March 17, with a rain date the following Saturday, March 24. We’re encouraging people who have kinfolks buried there to volunteer for a few hours. With a little help, we can get the cemetery clean to start the summer. We’ll have to figure out how to keep the grass cut after that.

If you’d like to join in, bring a wheel barrow, a rake, a weed-eater, or any other yard tools you have meet us there on March 17 at 8 a.m.

Even those without tools can help pick up the old flowers and other stuff.

Be sure to bring plenty of water. And if you have any pictures, or stories, of any of the folks buried there, be sure and bring that too.

For more information, send me an email at or visit