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Reaves/Mallard/Farish Cemetery, Wilcox Co. AL

Back to Index Page By Mrs. Florence Lambrecht Swanson
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 cemetery.

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 there.



b. 1812 JAN 1865

b. Aug. 22, 1817 and d. 1-4-1904


1819 DEC. 29, 1873

1824 MAY 13, 1892

1853 1874

1800 1875

1812 1840




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)

Many 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 buried there.

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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