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Cahaba in Dallas County, Alabama — The American South (East South Central)
 

Cahaba's "New" Cemetery

 
 
Cahaba's "New" Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton, June 1, 2020
1. Cahaba's "New" Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  
Created by the Legislature
This cemetery was created by an act of Alabama's Legislature on January 31, 1852. Cahaba's town council selected this spot, but the Legislature had to confirm their choice because all public land within Cahaba - the town created to be Alabama's first capital - was still owned by the state. In 1820, an earlier cemetery in town was also created by legislative act.

Originally, this newer cemetery was surrounded by both a deep ditch and a hedge to protect the graves from wandering livestock. The current fence line was installed in 1929 by a group of well-meaning individuals, long after the cemetery had been abandoned. The location of this fence may bear little resemblance to the actual historic boundaries of the cemetery.

The self-guiding walking tour brochure will introduce you to some of Cahaba's perpetual residents. There are more people buried here that you might suspect. Ground penetrating radar has detected 294 unmarked graves.

Cahaba Breaks with Tradition
Tradtional [sic] Christian burials are oriented east to west, based

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on the belief that on judgement day, Jesus will appear in the east. That way, true believers will rise from their graves facing east toward Jesus, the rising sun, and Jerusalem. However, in this cemetery, the alignment of the graves was shifted 21 degrees away from a true east-west line. This angle matches the alignment of the town's street grid. In Cahaba, death, as well as life, had to conform to a plan designed by Alabama's first governor, William Wyatt Bibb, in 1819.

Destroyed by Heartless Vandals
In the 1950s, the skull of a young girl was found stuck on the top of a crowbar in this historic cemetery. Graves were repeatedly opened, monuments damaged, and iron cemetery gates stolen. One June night in 1960, S. E. Fisher, a man who operated a hamburger stand nearby, heard loud noises coming from the cemetery. When he came to investigate, a car sped out of the cemetery, almost running him down. When the dust cleared, Mr. Fisher discovered that nearly every monument had been smashed with a sledge hammer.

The culprits were never caught. To help protect the site, a gate was then installed and a caretaker was hired. In 201 Alabama's bicentennial year, the Alabama Historical Commission repaired many of these monuments.
 
Erected by the Alabama Historical Commission.
 
Topics. This historical marker is

Cahaba's "New" Cemetery and Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mark Hilton
2. Cahaba's "New" Cemetery and Marker
listed in this topic list: Cemeteries & Burial Sites. A significant historical date for this entry is January 31, 1852.
 
Location. 32° 18.608′ N, 87° 6.237′ W. Marker is in Cahaba, Alabama, in Dallas County. Marker is on Oak Street, 0.6 miles south of Capitol Avenue, on the right when traveling south. Located at Old Cahawba Archaeological Park. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: Oak Street, Orrville AL 36767, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. New Cemetery (within shouting distance of this marker); Perine Well (approx. 0.3 miles away); Memorials for Prisoners of War (approx. 0.4 miles away); Old Cemetery (approx. 0.4 miles away); Anna Gayle Fry House (approx. half a mile away); Methodist Church (approx. half a mile away); Footprint of a Church (approx. 0.6 miles away); Cahawba - circa 1500 (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cahaba.
 
More about this marker. This marker replaces an older small marker with the same title.
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on June 2, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama. This page has been viewed 202 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on June 2, 2020, by Mark Hilton of Montgomery, Alabama.

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Feb. 26, 2024