Inman Cemetery, A Vintage Vignette

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Inman Cemetery
A Vintage Vignette by John P. Rankin
January 21, 2011

There is a large cemetery marked off by a chain link fence west of Anderson Road and north of Martin Road on Redstone Arsenal. Its designation by the Army when I first encountered it was the Emeline Cemetery. After my exploration and research of it, I recommended that it be called the Inman Cemetery. It is mostly devoid of grave markers, but it could easily hold around a thousand or so graves if full. Furthermore, there were remnants of an older fence that had separated the inner portion from the enlarged area surrounded by the chain link fence today. Only three tombstones were found. They were in the enlarged newer area, close together. These stones were inscribed with the names of Corporal G. R. Blackburn (Co. B, 4th U.S. Colored Infantry), Reverend John E. Jones (1865-1935), and Henderson Holding, who died February 2, 1930. Henderson's stone tells that he was a member of Plain View Circle 1793 of the Supreme Royal Circle of Friends of the World.

Corporal Blackburn was covered in a Vintage Vignette published February 24, 2010, so his story is not repeated now. However, the small cluster of markers includes the mostly-buried tombstone of Rev. John E. Jones. The census records never identified his occupation as a preacher, so it was probably a “dual occupation” for a self-supporting preacher. The tombstone appears to have a “7” etched over the “6” in the birth year of 1865, but the census records consistently show that 1865 is correct. The 1900 census shows John Jones at age 34 with wife Rachel (age 26), living in the town of Madison. From marriage records, it is known that Rachel was an Edwards prior to the marriage. This is further proven by the “brother-in-law” to John, Benjamin Edwards, being listed in the household. The census shows that John and Rachel were married for 6 years and that she had borne 2 children, both living, at the time of the census.

The 1910 census shows John E. Jones with a different wife. The name is mostly unreadable, but it appears to be perhaps Virginia Jane. John was correctly shown as age 44, while his wife was then only 21 years old. The marriage codes in the census record show that it is his 2nd marriage and her first, having been in effect for 3 years. The 1920 census has John E. Jones as age 54, with wife Lillian at age 42. Lillian was apparently a 3rd wife for John. The census strangely lists her as his wife, but it also put an “S” (for “Single”) in the marital status code. They had no children enumerated in the 1920 household, but there were other Jones families nearby.

The 1900 census shows that Henderson Holding lived in the Madison Precinct. In fact, his neighbors included Gabriel Blackburn and more Holding families. The Holdings were apparently former slaves and descendants of the former slaves of Richard Holding, who bought the land originally owned by the Inman family. Henderson Holding was not found in searches of the 1910 census of Madison County. The 1920 record above lists Henderson as age 74 and his wife Cassie as age 69. However, the 1900 census showed his age as 48 (born October 1851) and Cassie’s age as 47, born November 1852. Additionally, the 1900 record showed that they had been married for 13 years, with Cassie bearing 13 children in that time, but only 5 were still living at the time of the census. Those 8 deceased children are no doubt also in the Inman Cemetery, along with Cassie and many of their neighbors shown in the census records. In fact, John E. Jones was one of the neighbors listed near the Holdings in the 1920 census, on the same page. Considering the years of their life spans, it is obvious that Henderson Holding, Gabriel Blackburn, and John E. Jones all knew one another and lived in close proximity – just as they are buried close together. As their lives hallmarked an era in the history of the old South, so their deaths have served to mark the cemetery with their tombstones.

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