DIRECTIONS TO CEMETERY: Go South out of Camden on AL 41 for
about 10 miles. Turn left onto Wilcox Co. Rd. 12 (Gullet's Bluff church is
on the right). Go 2.2 miles and turn left on Reaves Chapel Road.
Go .5 mile. Cemetery is on left. Turn off on a small field
road, a short way from the highway.
The first cemetery of the community known through the years as Reaves-Farish
and/or Mallard Cemetery, now abandoned, was located in Section 35, Township 11,
Range 7, to the left of Reaves Chapel Road behind the James L. Reaves homesite,
later the home of his son, William McDaniel Reaves. Information on this
cemetery was given by Mrs. Harriett Issie Reaves Thompson, age 93 now, and Mrs.
Ora Thompson Kennedy, age 86.
The cemetery was established in the last 1830's or early 1840's and used as a
burying ground by many of the early settlers of the immediate community.
There is no documentary evidence of all the persons buried there; however, the
families of Reaves, Vaughn, Farish, Mallard (Mellard), Bayles, McIntosh and
their connections used it as a family burial place even after Reaves Chapel
Cemetery was in use. It is thought that some members of the Huff and
Johnson families, who lived in the area of the cemetery, were also buried in the
It is reported that the first person buried in the cemetery was Sarah
Elizabeth Lamb Reaves-Vaughn, wife of Joseph Vaughn, and mother of
James L. Reaves. James L. Reaves was buried there in the fall of 1875, and
his wife, Sarah S. Vinson Reaves, who died in 1899, was the last person to be
buried in the cemetery.
The cemetery was completely destroyed when Vredenburgh Sawmill Company
workers, in cutting and hauling timber from the surrounding area, ran tractors
and logging equipment through it erasing all evidence of graves.
Some graves have been re-located in Reaves Chapel Cemetery. The
following is not a complete list of all graves in the cemetery, but all efforts
to identify others have failed. Many others, it is reported, were buried
MRS. JOHN BAYLES
HAZELWOOD BUCKNER FARISH
1812 – JAN 1865
**ELLEN ELIZABETH WILLIAMS FARISH
b. Aug. 22, 1817 and d. 1-4-1904
D. T. MALLARD
NEIL WATKINS MCINTOSH
1819 – DEC. 29, 1873
CATHERINE ELLINOR VAUGHN MCINTOSH
1824 – MAY 13, 1892
JOHN WATKINS MCINTOSH
1853 – 1874
JAMES L. REAVES
1800 – 1875
SARAH S. VINSON REAVES
1812 – 1840
SARAH AMELIA REAVES
SARAH ELIZABETH LAMB REAVES VAUGHN
1780 - 1835
**Ellen Elizabeth Williams Farish is not
buried in this cemetery but instead buried at Noxapater Methodist Cemetery
in Winston County, MS. At time of her death, she was living with her
daughter, Emma P. (Farish) Rodgers and son-in-law, William P. Rodgers
April 15, 2006 Marker at Cemetery
View of Cemetery April 15, 2006
|From the Greene County Independent May 3, 2006 BY:
Betty Banks, Independent Publisher (and a Vaughn descendant)
old cemeteries in Alabama have been quietly forgotten and lost among
the overgrowth in rural areas. Some because there are no
longer any descendants left to give grave sites the care they need.
Many other descendants moved to different locations, leaving behind
their dead and hoping someone nearer to the community would care for
the graves - until generations came and went until finally the
cemeteries were no longer even memories.
One such lonesome graveyard is located in Wilcox County and it
first came into use as a cemetery in the late 1830's.
Descendents of those early settlers, some of whom live in Pickens
and Greene counties, recently took on the challenge of restoring the
old site as best they could, with some hard work from one descendant
in particular, Barney McIntosh, Jr. Others helped in various
ways who have ancestors buried there. (Dr. Rebekah Vaughn
Troutman of Dothan, AL was instrumental in getting this project off
the ground and she saw to it that it was finished. She is currently
writing a book on the Vaughn family)
It was the first cemetery in the community known today as Sedan,
AL. It's the Reeves-Farish-Mallard Cemetery. Sedan is
also called "Little Utah" and as its name suggests, a number of
Mormons populated the area and continue to live there today.
The old overgrown burial plot embraced such family members as
those bearing last names such as Reaves, Vaughn (Vaughan), Farish,
Mallard, Bayles, McIntosh and even probably some members of the Huff
and Johnson families, along with other family names long since
forgotten. The little community cemetery finally went out of
fashion, and local residents began using the Reaves Chapel cemetery
located at the Reaves Chapel Methodist Church.
According to old records, the very first person buried in the
forgotten cemetery was Sarah Elizabeth Lamb Reaves Vaughn, wife of
Joseph (Madison?) Vaughn, Sr. and the mother of James L. Reaves.
James L. Reaves was buried there in the fall of 1875, and his wife,
Sarah S. Vinson Reaves, who died in 1899, was the last person to be
Joseph Vaughn was the ancestor of Dr. William James Vaughn, the
founder of the School of Engineering at the University of Alabama,
and Dr. James Benson Sellers, author of the History of the
University of Alabama.
The old Wilcox County cemetery was nearly destroyed when a
sawmill company, Vredenburgh Sawmill Company, cut and hauled timer
from the surrounding area, running tractors and logging equipment
through it. All the tombstones are gone now due to this and
only a few of the graves can be seen.
About two weeks ago some of the Vaughn family descendants visited
the graveyard after two years of efforts to mark the site and clear
the debris. Even though the tombstones are gone, some of the
graves still bear evidence they were once covered with seashells.
During the visit some of the family members speculated the
seashells could have symbolized Christianity, but none really knew
the true reason for seashells so far from the coast.
Descendants are not sure what church or churches the first
settlers were affiliated with. What these modern day
descendants do know is that some of these long dead were from
Kentucky and North Carolina and were probably Baptist or Methodist.&
In the 1890's many people in the area became Mormons.
Two weeks ago descendants visited and met at the Reaves Chapel
Methodist Church in Sedan. The church is no longer active, but
people still meet there annually, have dinner on the ground and
discuss the cemetery and what history is known of residents.
That's exactly what happened two weeks ago, when a number of the
descendants gathered, participated in a service and then visited the
older cemetery, where their ancestors who first came to Alabama, lie
in their unmarked graves.
But now those graves are clean and marked by a fence, and bears a
monument in their honor.
Seashells on grave in old cemetery
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