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Restoration planned for Mullins Cemetery

In 1909, a notice appeared in the local newspaper calling volunteers to come work in the Mullins Cemetery in Jumbo. Today, almost 100 years later, the Mullins Cemetery is again the focus of a cleanup effort. However, this time the cemetery cleaning and restoration goals are combined with an Eagle Scout Project.

The Chilton Cemetery Association, a local historic cemetery nonprofit organization, is holding a cleanup day at Mullins Cemetery in northeastern Chilton County this Saturday, Nov. 1, beginning at 8 a.m.

Volunteers are needed for duties ranging from cleaning headstones, clearing trees, and dragging downed brush to piles. Volunteers are asked to bring any equipment they might have such as chainsaws, bush blades, Weed Eaters, rakes and pitchforks and report in at the large tent to be assigned to a team. Also needed are volunteers with ATVs to help transport people and supplies to the hill top cemetery.

The association registered the Mullins Cemetery as a historic cemetery. They have obtained the necessary permits from the Alabama Historical Commission to clear trees and undergrowth from the cemetery. They will also clean and in some cases re-level headstones.

When a comparison is made with a cemetery survey in the Chilton County Historical Society’s publication “Cemeteries of Chilton” with the cemetery today, it is obvious several headstones have disappeared. In particular, the headstone for Sarah Crockett Goodgame has once again been stolen or destroyed. Sarah, who was a close relative of Davy Crockett, was originally buried with a marble headstone, which was later stolen or vandalized. The Shelby County Historical Society then marked her grave again by donating a headstone, which is also now missing. The Chilton Cemetery Association is planning to mark her grave with a large granite ledger stone, which could not be easily destroyed or stolen. David Dennis, president of the Chilton County Historical Society and a descendant of Sarah Crockett Goodgame, has pledged to match all donations toward this fund until it reaches $1,000. The fund currently stands at $670.

The cemetery is historic because it is the burial site of the some of the county’s first residents, including the founding members of the Mullins family who came into the Jumbo area when the Creek Indians were still present. The grave of William Vines is here. Mr. Vines was one of the men named by a legislative act to establish Chilton County, which was in those days called Baker County. William Vines’ grave lies near the grave of James Vines, who served in the Confederate Army. Three other Confederate Army veterans rest in the cemetery, Henry C. Young, Oliver Mullins, and William Marcus. J. L. Marcus, also buried here, served in the Confederate Home Guards in a company led by a Capt. Mullins.

Clearing and cleaning the cemetery is not the only project planned. Hunter Bennett, 17, a member of Clanton’s Boy Scout troop No. 256 led by Kenneth Doriety, as his Eagle Scout Project, is planning to erect a historical marker for the Mullins Cemetery. The Eagle Scout badge is the highest honor in the Boy Scouts.

To accomplish this, Hunter will not only need to research and document the cemetery’s history, but will also need to raise the funds to purchase the marker. According to the Alabama Historical Commission historical markers average $1,000 – $1,500. Hunter will also be volunteering to help clean the cemetery.

The Chilton Cemetery Association and Hunter Bennett together invite anyone with knowledge or experiences to share about the cemetery or the Jumbo area to attend. Please bring a chair and share your memories and stories of this historic area of Chilton County.

Thanks to donations from Kenneth Mullins and H. C. “Moon” Mullins volunteers will be treated to a fried chicken dinner on the cemetery grounds with homemade old-fashioned deserts. Bottled water will also be available for volunteers.

A dedication ceremony will be planned for a later date.

Directions:

From I-65, exit 212, the Peach Tower exit, turn northeast onto Highway 145. Go 7.5 miles and turn right onto County Road 61. Go past the old Mt. Zion Church and through the creek, continue for a half-mile and turn left onto County Road 8. Go 200 yards down County Road 8 to the sign for the Mullins Cemetery.

Donations may be made through www.chiltoncemeteries.org or sent to P.O. Box 2523, Clanton, AL 35046. For information call 646-0192.