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PHELPS CEMETERY (Wales Community, Hwy 166), GILES COUNTY, TENNESSEE

Mapping the Location

Phelps Cemetery Signage: 8805
The adjacent farm pond & road area to the cemetery: 8828

Graves inside the fence:
Area overviews of fenced section of the cemetery: 8806/8827/8829/8830/8831/8849

BLACK, Newton L., son of W.H. & Eliza P. Black,
19 Jun 1855 - 4 May 1857. (Stone shaled and almost unreadable now.) 8809/8809C/8809R
BURKS, Elwood,
26 Jul 1928 - 3 Jul 1986. 8819

BURKS, Christine, 29 Jan 1929 - no other date. 8819
*CRABTREE, Crawford L.,
21 Jan 1918 - 12 Sep 2010. (Lincoln Co. native; s/o late Garland L. Crabtree and Robbie Lou Touchstone Crabtree; h/o Sarah Elizabeth Phelps Higgins Crabtree; Veteran U.S. Army, Co. I, 179 Infantry, 45th Division, WWII; retired Supervisor with Bargain Town U.S.A. and greeter for Wal-Mart; member of American Legion Post 11 in Florence, Al.; preceded in death by son, Thomas Gerald Crabtree on Dec 17, 2003, two brothers, Garland L. Jr., and Robert Crabtree, sister, Macie McKinney and step grandson, Joseph Logan Higgins.)
HIGGINS, Joseph C.,
25 Dec 1924 - 2 Nov 1978. 8823
HIGGINS, Sarah E.,
5 Aug 1927 - no other date. 8823
HIGGINS, Joseph Logan, Son of Pam & David Higgins,
2 Oct 1983 - 2 Oct 1983. 8824
McCLURE, Virginia Phelps,
30 Oct 1925 - 1 Oct 2008. "A beautiful person to know and love." 8807
PHELPS, Weakley,
15 June 1880 - 14 Dec 1960. Father. 8818/8820/8821
PHELPS, Henretta,
4 Jan 1904 - 4 Oct 1951. Mother. 8818/8820/8822
PHELPS, John H.,
9 Jan 1883 - 27 Jan 1952. 8817
PHELPS, Neal S.,
25 Mar 1848 - 15 Dec 1925. "Father", Pfc Co K 6th Tenn Cav. C.S.A. Cross of Honor. Only 13 years old when the war began; military marker soiled by Fire Ant Hill. 8814C/8813/8814
PHELPS, Sarah,
7 Nov 1854 - death date left off. "Mother", 8814C/8814
PHELPS, Jesse Howard,
20 Mar 1938 - 3 Jun 1999. 8808
PHELPS, Dean,
2 Mar 1933 - 2 Oct 2001. married to Mary F. 23 Jan 1965. 8810
PHELPS, Mary F.,
3 Jan 1944 -  no other date. married to Dean Phelps 23 Jan 1965. 8810
PHELPS, Earl,
11 Oct 1923 - 27 Nov 1996. PO2 (Petty Officer 2) US Navy, WWII. 8826/8825
PHELPS, Terry Shane,
30 Dec 1970 - 14 Mar 1990. "Son" 8812/8811
PHELPS, Dorothy Marie,
20 Jun 1938 - 3 Jul 1938. "Baby" 8816/8815
SMITH, G. W.,
10 Oct 1846 - 28 Jan 1903. (
No photo, Memorial not found in 2009.)

Graves outside the fence - oldest area - north & west of the fence:
Area overviews of the section outside the fence: 8832/8841

BARLAR, Frances Lawhorn, 1853 - 1889. (daughter of Thomas & Mary White Lawhorn; 1st wife of Alfred Jordan Barlar who is interred in Arlington Cemetery, Mt Pleasant Tn, beside his 2nd wife Martha Hollingsworth Barlar, Maury co.; she died in the Wales Community; believed buried in the Phelps Cemetery outside the fence among the other fieldstones marked graves.) 8216 (Memorial located in Gibsonville Cemetery)
CARRELL, James, Died 2 Apr 1856. about 70 years of age. (surname inscribed as Carrell, but may be Carvell) 8838/year 1989 photo
H..... T....,
29 Mar 1892 (or 1899?). Only date visible. (Initials T.H. and Mar 29, 1899, are all that is visible on this fieldstone.) 8834C/8834


Graves marked only with Fieldstones:8832/8833/8835/8836/8837/8839/8840/8841/8842/8843/8844/
8845/8846/8847/8848/8850/8851/8852/8853/photo snapped in 1989

My first introduction to Phelp Cemetery

I was introduced to this cemetery in 1989 by two older cousins Hilliard & Isaac Leonard Jr Barlar who were themselves 1st cousins, both deceased now. I was shown the fenced area and the fieldstone marked grave area of the cemetery where only one very old stone is inscribed. They told about my/their ancestor Alfred J. Barlar and his first wife Frances Lawhorn who lived in this area in a little house across the road over on the nearby hill on the Campbellsville Road. They told that in their earlier years the A.J. Barlar's had less than substantial means. A.J. worked as a farm labor hand for one of the large farms in the area.  After birthing the family of three boys and a girl in 1889 Frances took sick and died and was laid to rest here in the Phelps Cemetery.
Imaging that, have four kids on farm labor wages. Since money was scarce she was not given a marked headstone. At that time in 1889 only two marked stones were in this cemetery, but there were many burials under fieldstones. This is a very old cemetery.
 
In 1992 due to the abandoned condition of the unfenced part of Phelps Cemetery the descendents of Frances Lawhorn Barlar decided to install a memorial in the Gibsonville Cemetery 10 miles north of this place up Hwy 166/245. Their decision was based on the Gibsonville Cemetery being well maintained. In 1989 when I was there the 1st time there was a chain link fence around two or three monuments and the rest of the cemetery was infested in weeds & brush and this cemetery was practically abandoned. Today at the fenced area is well maintained as you will notice.  The area outside the fence has been weeded only by cattle grazing. The cattle will eventually trample all the fieldstones over so that the graves will no longer be visibly marked by stones.  The fieldstones are just common lime boulders that are tall shaped. They are buried on their edge deep into the ground facing east/west mostly at the head of the grave and sometimes another at the grave foot.

Strange encounter at Phelps Cemetery

This cemetery entrance eluded me for a time after that initial visit in 1989. Because of all the farm fencing changes and added growth of vegetation I was unable to locate the access road for several years the few times I drove by. When I drove up Hwy 166 I always looked over left into the entrance area and tried to remark the spot in my mind.  As I was driving by there on one occasion about 1995 I spotted two elderly ladies sitting in the middle of the farm road to the cemetery. Though I felt that unusual, I took the occasion to stop and ask them to try to regain the knowledge of where the entrance road was located. I struck up a conversation with them & naturally I told them about the Barlar ancestor of mine interred there.  When the subject came up as to why they were just sitting there the middle of the cemetery road in the middle of no where, in this very rural area, their answer was that they were going to be buried in this cemetery when they died, and they just wanted to be familiar with this place. Now that is the first & last time I have encountered that situation in a cemetery and I thought it a bit strange, but then maybe not. I did not ask them their names and would keep it private if I knew. Having relocated where the Phelps Cemetery road entrance is I drove on my way to Maury County in search of another elusive ancestor there. A few years later a house was built in front of the cemetery road and then a locked gate was installed along with the farm pond dug south of the cemetery.

Transcribed by C. Wayne Austin from site visits, photography & family history records 7 Oct 2009 12:10 PM & a few photos about 1989. Added here 4 Aug 2010 by C. Wayne Austin. This cemetery is also presented in the book Giles County Tennessee Cemeteries  on page 437, published by the Historical Society 1986.