LYNN - Those who have gone on before us cannot help, and it is left to those who stay behind to keep their memorials in top shape.
Tittle Cemetery, an isolated, yet well-kept graveyard, is in need of attention. Local residents Brenda and Junior Mathews, of Lynn are asking for help to restore the stone structures over two graves.
Tittle Cemetery is located off of County Road 356 and consists of approximately 40 graves. The majority of those buried here are related to the Tittle family of the Lynn area. At the western end of the cemetery, there are two large slab or rock structures covering the graves of two unknown individuals. These structures are collapsing and in need of repair work. There is a name carved on one of the slabs: Amanda Tucker, though no dates were included with the carving, and genealogical research has turned up nothing on her.
The structure with the least collapse measures 63 inches in length, 46 inches in width and 43 inches in height.
Junior Mathews has been a caretaker for the cemetery for a number of years, cleaning the leaves off and keeping an eye out for vandalism.
When Junior was a small boy, he always helped keep the graves clean. At the time, white sand was placed on the graves, and no grass was allowed to grow. Most area cemeteries stayed this way for numerous years before grass became the common grave topping in a cemetery.
“We had a big sand pit behind the barn in the pasture,” Junior recalled. At the time, he and his family lived close to Tittle Cemetery. “We came over here every year and cleaned it off and put sand on the graves.”
One idea on repairing the graves is to number the rocks and remove them, fill the inside of the structure in with dirt and replace the rocks in the order removed.
The oldest known burial in the cemetery is Jonas Tittle, who died in 1872, and is coincidentally buried between the two rock structures. The next known burial was Catharine Beasley in 1887. The two structures are most likely older than Jonas Tittle’s grave. Jonas, Catharine Beasley, Lydia Tittle, F.M. Tittle and S.M Lackey each have identical tombstones, most likely placed in the cemetery in the 1930s, since their dates of death stretch between 60 years.
There are also two graves located in the woods about 15 to 20 feet south of the main portion of the cemetery. Nothing about these two graves are known, other than they were placed there prior to the 1940s. No names are carved into the older monuments.
“We would put sand on them, too,” Junior continued. “My grandma would bring a flower and put it on them so they would have one.”
A church was located here at one time. References to the church come from obituaries of some of those buried here, including Andrew Clinton Tittle, who passed away in 1949 and an infant of Mr. and Mrs. Odrus Tittle who passed away in 1950. No known photos or paperwork exists for the church.
The small, plank church building was located north of the cemetery and south of County Road 356 in a small copse of trees and was parallel to the road with the front door facing east.
“The trees grew up in (the church), and they finally just tore it down,” Junior said. “I was about 5 or 6 years old at the time. They never had church in it when I was big enough to remember. It was dilapidated then, but still had old plank benches in it and the windows out of it. It wasn’t a very big church at all. It still had a pulpit.”
Anyone interested in helping repair the graves should contact Brenda at (205) 522-5217.
“I would like to see them fixed,” Junior said.
Decoration for the cemetery is held on the first Sunday in May. After the infant of Mr. and Mrs. Odrus Tittle, which is unmarked in the cemetery, was buried there in 1950, the next known burial was Jerry Lackey in 2017.
If anyone has any information on the church or cemetery, please contact the Northwest Alabamian at (205) 486-9461 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
See complete story in the Northwest Alabamian.