Dedication planned for grave of soldier

Published 10:45 pm Tuesday, October 7, 2008

One of Chilton County’s oldest gravesites is getting a much-needed facelift this weekend. It is one of only two known sites in the county where a Revolutionary War soldier is buried.

Caviness Gardens, located in northeast Chilton County, contains the grave of Pvt. Jonathan Clower, who lived from 1763 until 1837. During the Revolutionary War, he served in the North Carolina Continental Troops.

The site is named for Clower’s son-in-law, Andrew Caviness, who owned the land. It had been lost for about 20 years until Jeff Reese, president of the Chilton Cemetery Association; David Dennis, president of the Chilton County Historical Society; and Scott Martin of the Cahaba-Coosa Alabama Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution located it back in the spring.

“It was very exciting for us just to find it again,” Kat Reese, the wife of Jeff Reese, said yesterday.

A cleanup is set for Saturday, Oct. 11, at 9 a.m., and volunteers are needed. Directions to the site are as follows: From I-65 Exit 219, go east on County Road 42 and come to a four-way stop. Turn left onto County Road 51 and before the road crosses back over the interstate, turn right onto County Road 167 (dirt road). Go approximately 1 mile to a sharp left curve. In this curve is a large berm of dirt. The site is located about 300 yards into the woods from this point.

A volunteer will be stationed at the entrance point to direct people to the location. Vehicles must be parked around the berm of dirt.

“Anyone who plans on coming, if they have rakes, weed trimmers, bush blades or chainsaws, they are welcome to bring them,” Reese said, noting that there is no water or power source on site.

The cleanup is being held in preparation for a dedication ceremony Oct. 19 at 2:30 p.m. organized by Sons of the American Revolution. On that day, members will place a new headstone alongside Clower’s existing headstone identifying him as a soldier.

In the process, Reese also hopes to locate other missing graves in the area.

“We would hope we would find some of the other graves just by removing underbrush,” she said.

Several descendants of Clower, many of whom live in the Midwest, are planning to attend the dedication.

– Scott Mims can be reached at