Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Historic Wilcox County cemetery established by early Alabama Masonic Grand Master

Wilcox County is riddled with many old cemeteries, and one of the most remarkable is the Creagh-Glover Family Cemetery near Catherine.

The Creagh-Glover Family Cemetery is so noteworthy that 26 years ago – on March 22, 1991 – it was officially added to the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. Located on private property off Dove Lane, in the northwest corner of Wilcox County, this old cemetery contains around 25 graves, mostly from between 1826 and 1887 when the property served as a burial ground for the nearby Creagh family plantations.

The cemetery, which is also known as the Cooper Cemetery, is located on land that was originally bought by Thomas Bivin Creagh when Alabama became a state in 1819. Born in Albemarle County, Virginia on June 28, 1768, Creagh was not only an early Alabama pioneer and wealthy planter, but he was also a prominent early Alabama Freemason.

Records reflect that he was a member of Suggsville Marion Masonic Lodge No. 23 as early as 1823. Four years later, in 1827, he was elected to serve as the Worshipful Master of Dale Lodge No. 25, which is currently located in Camden. From there, he went on to serve as the Grand Master of the Alabama Grand Lodge in 1828, 1829 and 1830, and it’s said that he is the only Grand Master to serve in that position for three consecutive years.

Sources say that Thomas Bivin (sometimes spelled Bevin) Creagh established the Creagh-Glover Family Cemetery in 1826 when his son Richard P. Creagh passed away unexpectedly at the age of 30 in Mississippi. Born in Abbeville County, South Carolina in 1796, Richard P. Creagh graduated from South Carolina College (known today at the University of South Carolina) before becoming a lawyer in frontier Mississippi. Some sources even reflect that he served for a time as Mississippi’s attorney general.

The earliest known member of the Glover family buried in this cemetery is Lucilla Glover, the 10-year-old daughter of Benjamin and Mary Amanda Glover. Lucilla died in June 1853, just five years before the death of her mother in 1858. Benjamin lived to the age of 68, passing away in April 1872. All three are buried together in the Creagh-Glover Family Cemetery.

In addition to Creaghs and Glovers, other surnames that can be found within this small cemetery include Cooper, Falconer, Howze and Patton. The best that I can tell, the last person to be buried there was New Jersey native Aaron Burr Cooper, who married into the Falconer family before passing away at the age of 86 in July 1887.

In the end, according to the Alabama Historical Commission, there are 24 locations in Wilcox County currently listed on the Alabama Register of Landmarks and Heritage. In addition to the Creagh-Glover Family Cemetery, there are two other Wilcox County cemeteries on the register – the Reeves Chapel Methodist Church and Cemetery and the Dulaney AME Church and Cemetery. Those cemeteries are both unique in their own way, but those are tales for another day. 

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