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Mapping the Location

Area images of the Gooch Cemetery: 8201

GOOCH, William S., 4 May 1800 - 24 Jun 1851. "This tribute erected to his memory by his wife Ailcy and five children. He was for many years a consistent member of the Christian Church and a faithful teacher in the same." (From the article below we know William S. Gooch was a very influential Christian Church minister. CWA, 2013.) 8205M/8202/8204/8205/8203
GOOCH, Aley/Ailcy Jones, born about 6 Jan 1805 - died  May 1891, might be buried here beside her husband under a memorial stone that has largely returned to dust. 8203AG
Her obituary on <>

These are the other graves marked by fieldstones. Good chance they are all members of the Wm Gooch family including several children that disappeared from the censuses - see below census: 8207/8208/8209/8210/8211/faint inscription - M?. . . .: 8211I/8212

This area has been strip mined in the past leading researchers in the past to believe these stones were destroyed. We were delighted to hear that Andrew Tomlin with the help of historians at the Bethel Church of Christ were able to help him find this little cemetery and subsequently photograph these stones.

The article below is condensed from "Bethel Church of Christ History", by Jack Dugger, See full article here:

By 1835 the movement to restore New Testament Christianity was well established in Maury County, Tennessee. Numerous converts scattered throughout the county were attempting to organize churches founded only on the Bible without human creeds. No where was this effort any stronger than in the southern part of the county near Southport on the Giles County line. Here one of the untiring pioneer preachers lived. William S. Gooch was a farmer by occupation but dedicated much of his life to proclaiming Christianity. Born in Granville County, North Carolina, he and his wife, Aley Jones, came to Maury County in 1825. He lived south (SE) of Mt. Pleasant and was known to be a great debater. Along with L.A. Nichols who lived near Mt. Pleasant he preached some for the church on Cathy’s Creek. Gooch established a congregation near his home. Thus the Bethel Christian Church had its beginning in 1835. Dying at the age of 51, his wife and five children buried him near the Bethel meeting house in a cemetery which is upon a hill south of the road. The year was 1851.

The first meeting house of the Bethel church was built of logs with split log benches and lighted by oil lamps. It stood a few yards behind and west of the present house of worship. The history of the Bethel church of Christ is a history of the men and women who struggled to plant a congregation on the simple principles of the New Testament. One of the early stalwarts of the faith was Miles P. Murphy, Sr. The son of Nathaniel Murphy from Virginia, he married Eleanor Mack, from another early Maury County family. Like most of the first Bethel Church members, it can not be determined who was instrumental in his conversion. Joshua K. Speer and Wade Barrett were two early preachers who taught in Southport, but perhaps the tireless William S. Gooch deserves the credit for introducing Murphy to the Gospel. Miles Murphy, Sr. would loyally support the Bethel church until his death in 1874. Like many of his neighbors who had no strong ties to the cotton plantation system, Murphy would remain loyal to the Union during the Civil War. At his death, burial was made in the Murphy Cemetery not too far west from the Bethel church. He also served as an elder of the Bethel church prior to the Civil War along with Robert Franklin Matthews.

In 1854 Robert F. and Sarah Eliza Bills Matthews moved to a small farm that included Miller Lake. Prior to the creation of this lake, the property was called the "Canal Place" because a visitor to the clear channel of water liken it to one of the canals in the North. Most of the Matthews’ seven children were born at the Gidden's Place, four miles east of Mt. Pleasant. but the Panic of 1837 forced this well-to-do investor to sell his plantation to his brother Elisha and move to Enterprise. After several more moves he was finally able to buy the ‘Canal Place’ with the help of his wife’s inheritance. To supplement his income, Robert operated a freight business. One of the Matthews’ nearest neighbors was the George W. Hubbell family, also Bethel members. Some of the members of this family if not all are buried in the Hubbell graveyard just up from the Miller Lake aka Badger Lake today.

When the Matthews became Christians is unknown. Some evidence suggest that it may have been as early as the 1820’s or as late as the 1840’s. They were certainly influenced by Mrs. Matthews' parents, lsaac and Lillias Houston Bills. The Bills had been baptized at their plantation home 4 miles south of Columbia on the Mooresville Pike around 1814. Before moving to Maury County, this family had resided near Lexington, Kentucky, and often heard the preaching of Barton W. Stone. Robert F. Matthews’ parents, however, were Presbyterians and were instrumental in organizing the Hopewell Presbyterian church near McCains.

In addition to William S. Gooch, Matthews and Murphy did much of the preaching in those early years before 1860. A local tanner, William McConnell, also kept monthly preaching appointments here. Many families were converted and along with other Christians who moved into the community the size of the church quickly increased those first twenty years. It is believed the grave of William McConnell was in this area nearby, but perhaps the grave marker has succumbed to the hands of the strip miners.

William S. Gooch family history:
William S. Gooch, born 1800 & died 1851 married Alley Jones (called Alley, and in some places spelled Alsey).

The Federal Census of 1850 of Maury County finds the following record:

Surname Given Age
Gooch, William S.,  50
Gooch, Alsey         45
Gooch, Patrick      20
Gooch, Barton S.  17
Gooch, Roland      15
Gooch, Mary J.      8
Gooch, Nancy H.    6
Gooch, Alexander  4
Gooch, Lucy A.       1
Gooch, July Ann  15

The Federal Census of 1860 of Maury County finds the following record:

Surname  Given Age

Gooch, Alsey                  55
Gooch, Mary Josephine. 19
Gooch, Nancy H.            15
Gooch, Alexander          13

In the 1850 Census there was seven children one was July Ann Gooch  who does not appear to be an immediate member of the family. She was shown at the bottom of the list and her age does not line up.
In the 1860 Census there was just Alsey and three children remaining. Since the tombstone records mention five children from the ages it appears at least two or more children were grown and had already established separate homes or perhaps they were deceased by 1860 and were buried in one of the graves marked only with field stones, mentioned above, thus there were five surviving children in 1851.
We know from other records that there was already matured children living away from home. In the book Century Review of Maury County p. 288 we find this information on Roland Gooch, the third child. “Roland Gooch, b. Aug 14 1836, at Southport, Maury County, is the son of William S. & Aley (Jones) Gooch who came from Granville County, North Carolina to Maury County in 1825. Roland married Nancy Jones daughter of Henry and Manerva (Corsort) Jones also from North Carolina”.
Another source for the Bethel Church of Christ

Sources as mentioned above. Added here 16 Nov 2013 C. Wayne Austin Updated  20 Mar 2014 with the photography of Andrew Tomlin <>