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John S. Masters Family Cemetery

 

by Jack Masters

 

This wooded, grown over cemetery has been a question in my mind since I first viewed it back in 1988.  The first time I walked into the cemetery I never knew that any markers existed except the four together ( 1 - 4 ) noted below.  I had talked to Cleo Long and she had told me where to look since it was then located on her property.  I later realized that the remainder of the graves were located across a fence on the property now owned by Pat Grimes.   I'll list the information cited by the various sources in chronological order to document the conclusions I will cite below:

In Overton County Tennessee - Check List of Cemeteries & Graveyards:

  • MASTERS (PRIVATE) CEMETERY - Location: Three miles North of Windle. Windle is 5 miles West of Livingston.
    Date Established: Over 100 years ago.
    Number of Graves: 15
    Acreage: 1/2 Acre App.
    Reported by: Ethel Reneau, Livingston, Tennessee
    April 20, 1939

  • MASTERS (PUBLIC) CEMETERY - Location: Three miles North of Windle. Windle is 5 miles West of Livingston.
    Date Established: Over 100 years ago.
    Number of Graves: 25
    Acreage: 1 Acre App.
    Reported by: Ethel Reneau, Livingston, Tennessee
    April 20, 1939
The Private cemetery she is citing, in my opinion, is the one called "Maxwell Cemetery" by Gary Denton Norris in his Overton County Roll Call  1795 - 1975. He cites 12 known graves and 1 unknown.  In my book: Masters Family History 1691-1989 I called this same cemetery the Isaac Gore Masters Cemetery since that's what the people I talked to called it.  It is located just North of the old Isaac Gore Masters homeplace near Mt. Gilead Church.

The important thing I am trying to establish is that the remaining Masters Cemetery must be the John S. Masters Cemetery, according to Ethel Reneau and it contained 25 graves when she surveyed it in 1939.  Markers identified by Gary Norris Included:

Name Date of Birth Date of Death
R. W. Langford Sr. 12-06-1800 04-27-1876
Nancy Langford 04-07-1800 11-18-1891
Barbara Masters ??-??-1811 ??-??-1885
John S. Masters ??-??-1801 ??-??-1866
Isaac M. Masters 01-30-1872 11-09-1879
M. B. Masters 01-18-1826 05-07-1875
S. T. Masters 05-19-1830 08-08-1875
Martha Masters 10-04-1826 02-24-1876
M. T. Masters 04-28-1875 12-04-1880

"There are 5 unknowns at this site near the Mt. Gilead Church. The cemetery is on the property of Pat Grimes"  

In 2005 all of the marked graves are visible except that of Isaac M. Masters, along with the 5 unknowns marked by plain fieldstone markers.

The only other source of information I have is a listing of graves copied by Stella Masters in 1961. She called it "Old Masters Cemetery on Frank Ward Place on Flat Creek". She also noted that it was also called "Aunt Barbara Masters Cemetery" She lists 7 graves with the exception of John S. Masters and Barbara which is consistent with Gary Norris since those markers were added after 1961 by family members.

The question I'll address now is the current layout of the cemetery, graves which can be identified and speculation on my part as to the remainder.  This will be based on the best information which I now have without the benefit of conversations with older known family members who have died since publication of my book in 1989.  (I have come to realize that I am now an older Masters)

John S. Masters Cemetery

Approximate scale layout of Grave Markers (Looking East)

From grave 1 to fence is 34 feet - Fence to FS2 is 56 feet

Preliminary Layout of John S. Masters Cemetery

 

This layout is shown to locate grave markers in relationship to each other as well as the property line.  Numbers correspond to Ident # below. FS indicates Field Stone markers.   Marker #2 below has been pushed over and is broken into several pieces.

The GPS location for this cemetery is:  N 36 22 21.6, W 085 24 32.5.

 

Marked in 2004/5 - Known Graves at John S. Masters Cemetery

 Ident #  Name  Birth  Death  Notes
1  M. T. Masters  04-28-1875  12-04-1880  Martha T. Masters - Daughter of Samuel Thompson Masters and Niece of John S. Masters
2  Martha Masters  10-04-1826  02-24-1876  Martha Hampton - Wife of Montreville B. Masters
3  S. T. Masters  05-19-1830  08-08-1875  Samuel Thompson Masters - Son of James Masters and Nephew of John S. Masters
4  M. B. Masters  01-18-1826  05-07-1875  Montreville B. Masters - Son of James Masters and Nephew of John S. Masters
5  R. W. Langford Sr.  12-06-1800  04-27-1876  NOTE 1
6  Nancy Langford  04-07-1800  11-18-1891       
7  Barbara Masters  1811  1885  Judith B. (Riley) Masters - Wife of John S. Masters
8  John S. Masters  1801  1866  John S. Masters
FS1  Unknown      
FS2  Unknown      
FS3  Unknown      
FS4  Unknown           
FS5  Unknown           

 NOTE 1:  Rufus Wiley & his wife Nancy (Hardy) Langford lived near and were family friends of John S. Masters.  The Langford's had two children who married children of John S. Masters' sister, Delong Cain.
  NOTE 2.  Isaac M. Masters, born 01-30-1872, died 11-09-1879, was identified previously as  being buried here.  The stone has either been removed or weathered to the point that identification is now impossible and hence listed as one of the Unknown's.

 

Thought by family tradition to be buried in John S. Masters Cemetery

 Name  Birth  Death  Notes
 Jesse F. Masters  04-08-1834 03-25-1835  2nd son of John S. Masters
 Hilery Masters  04-18-1831 09-03-1840  1st son of John S. Masters
 Mary Davies Masters  ca 1760 15-06-1845  John S. Masters Mother
 Hillery Masters  ca 1758 ca 1813  Husband of Mary Davies Masters thought originally to be buried on the adjacent Charlie Allred farm but was moved to the John S. Masters Cemetery after the death of his wife, Mary.

 

Very Likely buried in John S. Masters Cemetery

 Name  Birth  Death  Notes
 Samuel Masters  ca 1860  Young  Son of James B. & Matilda Masters - Grandson of John S. Masters
 Mary Jane Masters  ca 1863  Young  Son of James B. & Matilda Masters - Grandson of John S. Masters
 Matilda Masters  1833 24-10-1880  1st wife of James B. Masters

 

As you will note the three categories total only about 20 burial sites but when the spaces above are taken into consideration with available space within the confines of the site, there is without a doubt many more of our family buried there. Family tradition notes that my great  grandmother Matilda Masters was buried at Campground Cemetery when she died in 1880, although there are no records available which indicate burial there.  In a period when other close kin were being buried at the John S. Cemetery I find it hard to accept that she would have been buried anywhere else.  We will likely never know for sure.  Course, it could be that the family wanted her buried away from them - wish I had asked my grandmother questions like this years ago.

 


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