Spring 2019 Chapter Report

Several members of the Guntersville Alabama Historical Society are clearing an old cemetery that is thought to contain the remains of important Cherokees buried there.

Davidson Cemetery, located near the base of Sand (Raccoon) Mountain in Marshall County, Alabama contains several graves, mostly identified by small natural sandstones. One of the few tombstones with engravings is for Edward Kelly, born in 1785 and died in 1840.

It is highly probable that some members of the Brown family, who were Cherokees, are buried there. John Brown Jr. owned a tavern only a short distance away, and his sister Catharine and their parents resided with him.

Catharine Brown (1800-1823) is recognized as the first Cherokee convert to Christianity and taught Cherokee girls at nearby Creek Path Mission. When she died, only a wooden marker was erected at her grave. Missionary Daniel Butrick visited the graves of John and Catharine Brown in 1823 and mentioned that he saw the empty house of their parents, who had moved to Arkansas.

The Browns were close friends with principal chief John Ross, who attended John Jr.’s funeral in 1822. David, another brother, is considered to have been one of the most intellectual Cherokees of his day.

A tornado a few years ago almost obliterated the cemetery and is now being cleared of fallen trees and debris.

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