JEFFRIES CEMETERY, (Jimmy Fisk
Road) MADISON COUNTY, ALABAMA
Mapping the Location
Views of the cemetery area showing the scattered
fragments of broken box tombs: 6744/6745/6746/6747/6748/6749/6750/6751/6752/6753/6754
Distant views of the cemetery and home site: 6755L/6755/6757
The old Dale/Jeffries/Routt homesite, a very remote and ghastly ghostly dangerous place: 6729/6730L
The old Beech tree with carvings: 6740
JEFFRIES, Frances, wife of Alexander Jeffries, died 16 Sep 1825. (1st wife of Alexander Jeffries; no age given) 2 fragments only:6734/6735/6738
"In memory of Frances Jeffries. wife of Alexander Jeffries, Died Sept. 16, 1825."
JEFFRIES, Alexander, (born cir 1773) - died 13 Sep 1838. Largest stone fragment remaining: 6731/6732/6733
"In memory of Alexander Jeffries who departed this life September 14th, 1838 in the 65th year of his age."
JEFFRIES, Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander & Elizabeth E. Jeffries, 31 May 1837 - 13 Aug 1844.
"In memory of Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Alexander and Elizabeth E. Jeffries who was born May 31st, 1837 and died August 13, 1844."
....RIES, (unknown fragment "ES" and "ries" Could be a part of the inscription for Mary Elizabeth Jeffries. 6742/6743
DALE, Adam. 14 Jul 1768 - 14 Oct 1851, age 84 years. (Also has a stone with his wife Mary "Polly" Hall Dale in Rose Hill Columbia Tennessee where it is said his remains were transported from here.) 6736/6737
"In memory of Adam Dale, born July 14th, 1768, Died Oct 14th 1851, Aged 84 years."
Unknown fragment with Epitaph type inscription - unreadable 6739
There was one deeply sunken grave that had dirt thrown upon the sides. This gave it the appearance of grave robbers having dug down looking for whatever propels such an idiotic nature: 6749
I turned many of the fragments over but did not find any additional parts of inscriptions though there is bound to be more.
Adam Dale was the father of Alexander Jeffries' second wife, Elizabeth Dale. Elizabeth chose Jeffries as her third husband. After his death she married Robert High (an Alabama legislator) on May 15, 1839. He died in April 1842 and she then married Absalom Brown on March 16, 1846. He died in 1847. She married Willis Routt May 11, 1848 and some time after his death Elizabeth moved to Mississippi and died there. The imposing manor house that stood near the cemetery was Elizabeth's home from the time she married Jeffries until she moved to Mississippi and it is believed that Robert High, Absalom Brown. and Willis Routt are also buried here, but if they are they do not have tombstones. The house burned around 1968. The often-married Elizabeth was one of Madison County's most beautiful and colorful characters having even been accused of murder of at least for some of her six husbands at one time but she was acquitted before leaving for Mississippi. Bill Martin of Nashville a Dale descendent says he traced her on into Arkansas but has not found her grave. Since it is known even some or all of her own children were against her she is unlikely to have a headstone anywhere.
Census, Madison County, 1850, HH# 108
Rout, Willis (49) Ky. Farmer
Rout, Elizabeth (55) Md.
Dale, Adam (81) Md. (Parents of Elizabeth)
Dale, Mary (78) Del.
Jeffries, William (16) Ala. Student
Main source for this cemetery listing was Madison County Alabama Cemeteries by Dorothy Johnson. In spite of my visit here as you see from the damage to this cemetery without her help this listing would not be possible. Other sources were very publicly known history of this site. There is even a song written about Elizabeth Dale who had six husbands mysteriously die.
Colorful History & folk lore follows
from Pearidger History and genealogy Trails, URL's given, but some posted here.
There have been several writers on the events, and also a song by the Country
Gentleman - some of that follows here:
The song inspired by Elizabeth Dale's notoriety "One Mile East of Hazel Green in concert by Randy Waller and the Country Gentleman (turn on your speakers)
Adam Dale was born in Worcester County, Md., July 7, 1768. He was a boy
volunteer of the Revolution. In 1781 his company of boys from fourteen to
sixteen years was raised in Snow Hill, Md., to oppose the progress of Cornwallis
through Virginia. Receiving land grants with his father, Thomas Dale, for
service. He settled in Liberty, Tenn., in 1797, (near what is today Smithville, Tn) after having married Mary Hall,
February 24, 1790. He raised, equipped, and commanded a company of volunteers
from Smith (DeKalb) County and fought under Andy Jackson at Horseshoe Bend and other
battles of the War of 1812. Removing to Columbia, Tenn., in 1829, he died an old
man of 84 at
Hazel Green, Ala., October 14, 1851, in the home of his daughter Elizabeth and was buried there,
behind her house. His wife died in 1859
in Columbia Tn. To this couple were born ten children. Source: History of DeKalb
County Tennessee, By Will T. Hale Published by Paul Hunter, Publishers, 1915 -
Transcribed by Veneta McKinney (See Rose Hill
Cemetery, Columbia, Maury county Tennessee also on this site for his & his
wife's grave listing, though
according to this source one of these will only be a Centaph (memorial only not a grave). [C.
Wayne Austin. 4 Apr 2013])
Tombstone for Adam &
Polly Dale, his wife, set in Rose Hill Cemetery, Columbia Tennessee.
From this link follows: The Haunted House of Hazel Green
Built on an Indian mound several hundred yards from any other breach in the earth's surface, the home of Mrs. Elizabeth E. Routt,, better known in county history as Mrs. High Brown Routt, a mile east of Hazel Green, once held the limelight of local attention, principally because it harbored more scandal than any since and has kept folks awake around the fireside.
Both books and pamphlet, now unobtainable, recorded this choice gossip, and caused passersby, back in those days before the Civil War, to slacken the reins upon their horses end strain their necks for a glance of the mansion's owner.
The home, built in 1847 in the heart of a 500-acre plantation, once was beautiful, surrounded with flowers and well supplied with costly furniture. Even its predecessor, a two-story log cabin immediately to the rear, bore some charm.
But its distinctiveness is gone now. No longer does it indicate that it once sheltered wealth and aristocracy. The disasters of tenantry have befallen it.
History around this home lies almost altogether with Mrs. Routt. She was, before her marriage, Elizabeth E. Dale, daughter of Adam Dale, Volunteer Revolutionary Soldier at the age of 14, and member of a company of boys raised in Snow Hill, Maryland in 1781.
Her grandfather was Thomas Dale, who commanded two companies of "Minute Men" sent to protect Salisbury, Md., Whig headquarters for that state, from a Tory uprising in 1777. Adam, who died while visiting his daughter in 1851 and was buried there on the plantation, received, with his father, land grants for service and removed to Tennessee in 1797. He later raised, equipped and commanded a company from Smith Co., Tenn., and served under Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812.
Mrs. Routt was a beautiful and charming woman, with auburn hair, dark brown eyes and fair complexion. She was well educated, an aristocrat and had in her veins the blue blood of men who had followed in the steps of Lord Baltimore and Cecil Calvert. She loved fine clothes, fine horses, fine furnishings and all conveniences made possible by the considerable wealth of her family. Her appeal to men was unusual.
Before she was wooed by Alexander Jeffries, a widower and early settler from Madison County, she was married twice, first to a Gibbons and then to a Flannigan, both of whom had died rather mysteriously a short while after, leaving no children.
Jeffries had started the plantation at Hazel Green long before he met Mrs. Routt. In 1817, he had bought from Archibald Patterson the northeast quarter of a section for $1,800., and had followed this the next year with the purchase of the east end of a quarter of an adjoining section from Thomas Murphy for $700. Both tracts were entered by these former owners in 1812.
Then had come for Jeffries the task of clearing this acreage end of constructing the log house, which was to be a fairly spacious structure of its kind with four rooms. He had chosen the Indian mound for its site so that he could from this higher point, look out upon the virgin forests and sparsely wooded country around him.
When the fields were cleared, he had planted them in cotton, a crop found by earlier settlers to be well adapted to this section. Slaves had been added as he needed them advancing both his investments and his fortune.
Not long after the death of his first wife, he had visited Tennessee on business and had met Mrs. Flannigan, as Mrs. Routt was known then. Her fascination had led to courtship which resulted in their marriage.
Two children were born to this couple, William A. and Mary Elizabeth. The daughter's birth occurred November 8, 1837, and her death August 13, 1844. She was buried on the plantation.
In 1837, Jeffries died, at the age of 65. Whether there was any suspicion concerning the cause of his death is not known, for his will, filed the next year, states that he was in bad health, though of sound mind.
In taking over the plantation, his widow found little trouble. She drove her slaves with an iron hand, terrorizing them with the fury of her commands, and slyly began to look about for another "lord. "
Robert A. High of Limestone County, a native of North Carolina, was the
next to succumb to her wiles. This man was a representative in the state
legislature from 1838 to 1839, and was a zealous advocate of common schools.
William Garrett, author of "Public Men in Alabama, "writes of him as
Mrs. Routt had planned for years a fine home to which she might invite her guests, some of whom were members of Madison County's most prominent families. After this betrothal with Brown, she began the present structure, which required a Negro slave carpenter more than a year to complete, even with all his assistants.
The frame house, facing the east, was ell-shaped and had eight large rooms, four above and four below. Two stairways connected the two floors, one in the hallway separating the four chambers in front and the other midway between the front and back
The front hall was of moderate dimensions, with an opening at each end. The main door was in two panels bordered with tiny panes of glass. Only a few feet from the north side of the building and at the foot of the mound on which it was erected ran the road from Hazel Green which intersected a few hundred yards to the front of the house with a lane bordered by a dozen or so slave cottages.
No more care was taken in preparing this mansion than was placed in the layout of its surroundings. A row of tall cedars and pines around the hill circled bed upon bed of all kinds of flowers and shrubs. Bear grass was planted along the main walk in front of the dwelling, while shrubbery of some nature skirted even the brick walks which led toward the stables and icehouse to the rear.
Furnishings were the richest obtainable. In this respect Mrs. Routt was never satisfied, for she had in mind tall mirrors and costly mantlepieces, items she did not acquire before she lost her fortune.
When completed, this home was not a lonely abode there amid its curtain of trees. Often, its owner took in travelers for the night, while again, she returned from a trip to Columbia, Tenn., with guests for a house party and other festivities. Every convenience was furnished them, even servants' bells in each room.
Brown died in 1847, of some unknown malady which caused his body to swell so that it was necessary that he be buried during the night following his death. Present residents of the county recall that their parents and grand parents often remarked on their part in this ceremony there in the dark, aided only by lantern light, held by shaking darkies.
But this was not the end of the widow's matrimonial ventures. On May 11 of the following year, she was married to Willis Routt, her sixth husband. He, too, passed the way of the others within a short while.
Around this time, Mrs. Routt became engaged a controversy with Abner Tate which eventually led to her trial in the courts in Huntsville on a charge of murdering her husbands, but she never was convicted.
Tate, a neighbor, had several squabbles with her over loose livestock and other plantation matters. They confessed no liking whatever for each other. Tate was blind to her beauty and openly charged her with murder. Consistent with this accusation was the rumor, substantial by sight, that the woman had a hat rack in the main hallway of her home upon which she bung each hushand's hat after his death.
Mrs. Routt sought to put and end to this enemy of her. In 1854, Tate was wounded by a shotgun in the hands of of one of his slaves. Rumor had it that his neighbor paid one of her slaves to shoot him, and that this Negro, in turn, had hired one of the victim's men to commit the deed.
That failing, Mrs. Routt next turned to a cleverer scheme. She had been receiving much attention from D. H. Bingham, a school teacher at Meridianville, who desired her hand in marriage, for this woman was beautiful even at 60. So when it was reported that a drover from Kentucky, on his way back from selling his herd in South Alabama, had been murdered at Tate's home and cremated in a large fireplace there, she had this suitor prefer charges against him.
Tate answered these accusations in a book called "Defense of Abner Tate Against Charges of Murder Preferred by D. H. Bingham. " He also struck even further at Mrs. Routt, charging that her "bridal chamber was a charnel house," and spoke of her as the woman "around whose marriage couch six grinning skeletons were already hung. "
This book led Mrs. Routt to file a $50,000 damage suit against its author for defaming her character. The following quotations from Tate's book were taken from the circuit court records of 1857, the year after the suit was entered:
Other quotations, from the chancery court record of 1858, point to the
suspicion with which Mrs. Routt was held. She
sued Abner Tate and Jacob H. Pierce for $1400. that she claimed they owed
her for her cotton crop of 1840. The
following letter, presented in the case, was written to her by Pierce in
Few things about the mansion now mark the wealth which once paid for its upkeep. There is no orderliness, no neatness in its vicinity. The structure has become ramshackle and prone to the whims of its occupants. Doors sag, window panes are missing, and plastering has fallen by the wholesale. On the north side of the house, two brass door knobs appear conspicuously out of place.
Only one forgotten item about the plantation remains in memory of the woman who lived there three-quarters of a century ago - the graveyard. A few yards to the south of the house, beneath an immense holly tree. surrounded by a low thicket, tombstones lie in a random pile - that of husband, child and ancestor, a harbor for reptiles and field mice.
Note: The High-Brown-Routt home burned to the ground in the fall of 1968. From the main road, skeletal remains of two chimneys are the only visible evidence that a house, once stood on the ancient Indian mound.