By Julia Watford Tye
This small cemetery is located alongside State Highway 95 N in Henry County and is the final resting place of Washington Hamilton Peacock and his wife, Elizabeth Pennington, two pioneers who settled here soon after this area was declared the state of Alabama. They homesteaded on land located in the northeast part of the county on a ridge overlooking the Chattahoochee River Valley, not far from the Indian Boundary Line.
The Indians had been removed to the area north of the line, but according to family lore, Indians still lived near this family for many years. Several springs are located on the property and the Indians preferred to remain near this water source. The property has always had large cedar trees growing in quantity, and there was one particularly huge tree around which many, many arrowheads and pieces of flint were found.
The Peacock family came to America in the early 1700’s. Washing Peacock was born in North Carolina, the son of John and Edith Peacock. Elizabeth Pennington was also from North Carolina and she and Washington married in 1818, after which they moved to Washington County, Georgia, where they were registered on the 1820 Census. They must have moved to Henry County soon thereafter, because court records indicate Washington was named a Justice of the Peace in the county in 1822.
They are listed on the 1830 census as residents of Henry County, Alabama. Their property was registered at the U.S. Land Office in Sparta, Alabama, and is listed in Tract Book 1 of Henry County. The first road in southeast Alabama, from Franklin to points west, cut through the Peacock place, and there is still evidence of the old roadbed.
Washington and Elizabeth started housekeeping in a tent with just a frying pan and a pegged three-legged stool. They soon built a log cabin and later a large two-story house overlooking the beautiful river valley, with a view even to Georgia. Here they raised six sons and three daughters.
After Washington’s death in the 1870’s, he was buried in the yard of their home. A wrought iron fence was built around the gravesite, leaving room for Elizabeth, who died several years later.
Washington and Elizabeth’s son Daniel Jordan had remained in the home with his first wife, Cassandra Dixon, to care for his mother. After Cassandra died he married Mattie Watford and continued to live in the home until it burned in 1905. A smaller house was build, but it too burned and was replaced. After Daniel Jordan’s last remaining daughters, Sally and Susie, Died in the 1980’s, the last house was torn down.
Today the property on which the cemetery lies belongs to the great great granddaughter of Washington and Elizabeth , Corine Cotton Scott and her husband, Wesley. They have a lovely home and beautiful yards to complement the old cemetery.
A G.G.G. granddaughter, Julia Watford Tye and her husband Fred own three acres and a home on the old Peacock place about a quarter of a mile north of the cemetery. The land they own was called “The Walnut Cut” by the old timers because of the abundance of walnut trees growing in that section. One large walnut tree remains on this piece of property.
This couple, who braved the hardships of making a home in the wilderness and accomplished many of their dreams because they were Christians who raised their children in church and were good citizens and neighbors. The Lord blessed them in many ways, even to preserving family ownership of their burial place for more than one hundred and eighty years.
(Julia Watford Type is a director of the Historic Chattahoochee Commission, and a director of the HCHG.)