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A few years ago Louis M. Finlay, Jr. presented a paper on Airmount Cemetery to the Clarke County, AL Historical Society. The 21st of August, 1999, Dalton James Smith and his wife Luvern visited the Cemetery in search of Jim's great grandfather's grave. Jim wrote an account of the condition of the cemetery and the gravestones they found. They didn't find Stephen Wellington Murley's grave but returned the following week with Louis Finlay and friends to clear the brush and trees from around the graves of the Murleys and Gildersleeves who were buried there. The following is from the records of both Louis Finlay and Jim Smith.

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Airmount Cemetery

. Airmount Church
Airmount Methodist Church, 
Aug.1999.Photo by Jim Smith.
Click on Graphic for enlargement of picture.

Graves in the Old Fenced Area, Airmount Cemetery, 
Clarke County, Alabama August 21, 1999

Recorded by Dalton James Smith, Registered Forester

The cemetery is located north of State Highway # 5, between 
Thomasville and Sunny South, and just in Clarke County. A 
sign along the highway in front of large brick columns and 
a gate reads:

      Airmount C. M. E. Church, Thomasville, Alabama, 
                 Pastor Bonnie McCall 

The large portion of the cemetery located between the high-
way and the church, and south of the old fenced area, is in 
current and frequent use by the church. Grounds are clean, 
stones are contemporary.


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Airmount Cemetery Plat

North and west of the currently used cemetery is an area of 
two or three acres, fenced with strong rust resistant wire. 
The treated posts are rotting and therefore the fence is 
falling in places. Some bush has been cut and piled within 
the fenced area in the past five years; no maintenance since
that time. The area is somewhat open at eye level, growing 
up in knee high small pines. Around most grave stones the 
hardwood brush is larger and more prevalent, as though a 
tractor was once used to cut the open areas and could not
get close to the stones.
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Airmount Cemetery Plat,
not drawn to scale 
Aug.1999. Sketch by Jim Smith.

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Hope Family Burial Chamber

. Hope Family Burial Chamber Hope Family burial Chamber, inside
Hope Family Burial Chamber, 
Aug.1999. Photo by Jim Smith.
Inside the Chamber Aug.1999. 
Photo by Jim Smith.
An enclosed brick tomb with semi open lattice sides and a 
rusting tin roof, some 15 feet by 30 feet, holds six graves 
with elaborate tall marble markers. Except for a crumpled 
brick column and the rusting roof, the building is in good
condition. Writing on the curved ceiling inside says "A.D. 
1853." Constructed in the Greek Revival Style of Architec-
ture, this building has been nominated by The Clarke County 
Historical Society for The National Registration of Historic 
Buildings. Large grave stones inside are:

Jane A. Hope, born 9 February 1813 and departed this life 
22 November 1852, aged 39 years, 9 months and 13 days

Double stone: 
HOPE, Sarah Jane Powell, born 7 July 1829 died 7 July 1885;
HOPE, John, born 3 October 1791 died 6 April 1868

Margaret Hope, born 20 Nov 1797 died May 1851

John Allison Hope, born 3 October 1855 departed this life 
25 October 1856, aged 1 year and 22 days

Archibald H. Hope, born 20 May 1823 died 26 September 1850


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Gildersleeve / Murley / Kennedy Graves

Vertical Shadow Space Before Gildersleeve Monuments
Vertical Shadow Space Harriet Murley Monument
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Upper Left: Hattie Murley'stone before clearing.
Photo by Jim Smith.

Upper Right: What a way to spend a hot August 
weekend! Clearing the graves hehind the Hope 
Burial Chamber.Left to right Jean Lufkin, 
Luvern Smith, Jim Smith, Jack Lufkin and Louis 
Finlay. Composite photo. Original photos by 
Jack Lufkin and Jim Smith.

Below: Hattie Murley's Stone uncovered. August 1999
Photo by Jim Smith.
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Seven stones are in a line behind the Hope Burial Chamber, 
with two behind those, total nine in the rear: 

Mary Kennedy, born 19 June 1800 died 27 Sept 1854, age 54

Sacred to the Memory of Samuel G. Kennedy, who died 
13 Oct 1855, age 25 years, 10 months and 7 days

Rosa, daughter of Dr. W. E. and M. E. Easterling, 
born 18 September 1879 died 20 July 1882

In Memory of John Gildersleeve, born 2 Mar 1791 
died 19 Mar 1873. 
I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth 
in me, though he were dead yet he shall he live

In Memory of Martha A., consort of John Gildersleeve, 
She was born in New Bern, North Carolina 6 Dec 1806 and 
departed this life 11 January 1869. 
The body in the grave must sleep, while 
we for Martha lonely weep.

In Memory of JOHN STEPHEN Gildersleeve, born 1 March 1841, 
and departed this life 21 December 1855. 
Blessed are the early dead for they shall inherit 
the kingdom of heaven.

In Memory of Harriet Daves, beloved wife of S. W. Murley, 
born 17 January 1834 died 20 October 1902. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

Annie, wife of S. W. Murley, Jr., born 4 June 1878 died 
6 Jul 1908 (Stone behind Harriet Murley)

ATKEISON (that is all, no other writing. This stone is 
in the row with Annie, behind the others)


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Houston Graves

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Houston Family Monuments 
in front of the Hope Burial Chamber
Photo taken by Louis M. Finlay 
several years ago.
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Three large and elaborate stones are in front of the tomb:

Joseph Houston, born 8 September 1806 died 29 August 1852

Sacred to the Memory of Martha L. Houston, consort of Joseph 
Houston, born 4 November 1820, died 29 Jul 1855

Catherine Houston, born 6 November 1843 died 15 February 1848 

Champion Graves

On the side of the Hope Family Burial Chamber toward the church, are two graves:
Euphrona A. Champion, born 6 May 1827 and died 24 September 1852, aged 24 years, 4 months and 18 days (illegible) W. C. Champion (dates illegible)


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Wrought Iron Fenced Area

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Fenced in area of Airmount 
Cemetery August 1999.
Photo by Jim Smith.
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North and west of the tomb, toward the gate, is an area of
15 feet by 30 feet enclosed by a waist high iron picket
fence. Brush is heavy inside the fence as this area could
not be tractor mowed. I could see two large stones and 
three small. One of the small stones is for a child of the
couple with the large stones. The large stones are for:

Robert Melton Hope, born 4 October 1857 
died 26 February 1934

Lucy Crawford Hope, beloved wife of Robert Hope, 
born 4 February 1862 died 13 Mar 1946

Robert M. son of Robert M and L.C. Hope
5 November 1891   25 January 1895

Leonora Crawford Hope
5 August 1889   23 October 1907

Ludee Hope
6 April 1887   19 March 1907

Vera, daughter of R. M. and L. C. Hope
15 September 1897   26 October 1897

Archibald Crawford, son of R. M. and L. C. Hope
born 10 January 1896, died 29 April 1899



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Open Area

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In the open area of Airmount Cemetery, Between 
the Wrought Iron Fenced Area and the Hope Family 
Burial Chamber are the following graves:
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In Memory of Bynum V. Jones, who was born
15 July 1810, died 19 January 1857

Dannie A Baugy, 9 March 1845, 18 August 1925

Kittie Whisenthunt, wife of Dannie A. Baugh
18 February 1886  23 June 1965

George M. Steed, Alabama Prv. 20 Engineers World War 
born 11 Jul 1894  died 22 February 1966

Thomas A. Steed, 30 December 1857 14 May 1941

Emma C., wife of Thomas Steed, 
5 September 1860   27 August 1896 

Emma C. Steed
13 August 1896  25 June 1982
(sign - dau. of American Revolution)

Infant daughter of T. A. and E. C. Steed

Infant son of Frank O. and Lelia P. Lowry
June, 1914 



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Original material copyright by Nita Munoz 13 Sep 1999
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