Sunday, July 29, 2018

The Lambs of the Tabor Cemetery

Today I was enjoying my last day of vacation and chose to take a drive out to an area of the county I don't get out to nearly as frequently as I should - the Highway 28 corridor going from Lauada to Franklin. I had no particular destination in mind but while on Brush Creek, I noted a tiny sign for the Tabor Cemetery on the left and decided to follow it. Upon topping out on a hill above the creek, I found one of the most beautiful and well-tended cemeteries I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. 


Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

I love looking at old tombstones - not only because of the curiosity I have about the lives of the people they commemorate, but also for the artistry of the stones themselves. Whilst wandering through the stones at this cemetery, I noted something 'different' here amongst the ones marking the graves of children. In older cemeteries, lambs are often seen on the headstones of children - most of the cemeteries in Swain County have them. However, the Tabor Cemetery has a very interesting array of lamb stones - at least 7 different types - such that I felt them to be worthy of their own blog article. Some of these are below.

I would encourage all who are interested to visit this peaceful cemetery and view the beautiful stones that, while unique, are a bittersweet reminder of the very tenuous existence of children in days not so long past in these mountains.
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Frank West was born on September 10, 1905, died on October 5, 1905 of unknown causes. He was the son of Henry and Minnie (nee' Marr) West. His parents are buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Macon County.

Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

Everett Bates Jr., was born on February 27, 1919, and died on January 1, 1921 of meningitis. He was the son of Everett Robert and Lillie (nee' Marr) Bates. Everett Sr. was shipped to the World War 1 front in 1918, leaving behind Lillie, who was pregnant. He died in combat in France in November of that year before his son was even born. His remains appear to have been repatriated, and are interred near those of Everett Jr.. Lillie was remarried (to Floyd Cunningham) in March 1921 and is buried in Swain Memorial Park.

Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

Troy Tabor was born on October 3, 1928, and died on December 22, 1928 of unknown causes. His parents are unknown (no death certificate was filed), however, he may have been the son of the Reverend John and Amanda (nee' Cookston) Tabor, who he is buried next to.

Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

John H. Watkins was born and died on March 17, 1929 of unknown causes.  He was the son of Emlis Floyd and Delsia Angeline (nee' Anderson) Watkins. His parents are buried in the Derreberry Cemetery in Cherokee County.

Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

Kathleen Tabor was born on October 9, 1942 and died on January 13, 1946 of diphtheria.  (Note: her death certificate states that she was born in 1941). She was the daughter of Verlin and Louise (nee' Welch) Tabor, who are buried next to her.


Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

Melvon Ray Burnette was born on January 11, 1945, and died on February 6, 1945 of pneumonia. He was the son of Don Melvin and Jessie (nee' Howard) Burnette, who are buried next to him. (Note: His tombstone may contain a misspelling, as Macon County birth records spell his name as 'Melvin'.)

Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

Robert Zane Nelson was born and died April 12th, 1962 of unknown causes. He was the son of John E. and Wanda (nee' Tabor) Nelson, who are buried in the cemetery with him.

Photo credit: Wendy Meyers

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Note to the reader: to reach the Tabor Cemetery, take US 19-74 west from Bryson City and turn left on NC 28 South at the old 'King's Grocery' (Texaco gas station). Drive approximately 5.5 miles and take a left on Brush Creek Road. Approximately 1 mile up the road, it will split, with Marr Creek going straight ahead and Brush Creek going off to the right - stay on Brush Creek. In about 0.3 miles, you'll see a sign for Dan Springs Baptist Church on the right. About 0.1 miles past that, you'll see a low sign for the Tabor Cemetery on the left. Take the left and follow the gravel road about 0.1 mile to the cemetery at the top of a hill.

As always, please reach out with any corrections you might have or other information/pictures you feel could add substance to this article.

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Sources:
Ancestry.com
Burnette family members (information on Melvon Burnette cause of death)
Ed Ammons (information on Robert Zane Nelson's parents)
Kathy and Ryan Bennett (information on Robert Zane Nelson's parents)
Newspapers.com

11 comments:

  1. Wanda Tabor Nelson, 73, of Bryson City, passed away on Tuesday, April 23, 2013.
    Born in Swain Co., she was the daughter of the late Verlin Clyde Tabor and Louise Welch Tabor. In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband, John E. Nelson; infant son, Robert Zane Nelson and three brothers, Bernard, Clyde and Carroll Tabor. Wanda was a member of Dan Springs Baptist Church.
    She is survived by two daughters, Kathy Bennett and husband Ken of Bryson City and Shannon Bumgarner and husband Dane of Canton, NC; brother, Blake Tabor of High Point, NC and two grandchildren, Zane Bennett and wife Caitlan and Ryan Bennett.
    Funeral Service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, April 27th in the Chapel of Macon Funeral Home. Rev. Jim Cochran and Rev. Tim Barker will officiate. Burial will be in Tabor Cemetery.
    The family will receive friends from 6-8:00 p.m. Friday, April 26th at Macon Funeral Home.
    Macon Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements.

    Wendy,

    This is from Macon Funeral Home's website.

    Ed

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  2. It also appeared in the Asheville Citizen Times.

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    1. Thank you so much, Ed! I did a newspapers.com search for him but could not find him - so glad you already knew whose son he was. I have updated appropriately and given you credit for this information.

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  3. Thank you! Melvin Burnette is my uncle ❤

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  4. This is a very nice article. This is my family cemetery. Verlin and Louise Tabor were my grandparents. Kathleen Tabor was my aunt and namesake. Robert Zane Nelson was my brother and one of my sons namesake and John E and Wanda Nelson were my parents.

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    1. Thank you so much, Kathy! If you have any additional information (including pictures) on your brother or aunt you'd like to add here in order to commemorate them, I'd love to add it. You can reach me at oldeswain@gmail.com.

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  5. Don and Jesse Burnette are my grandparents, we were always told Melvon passed from pneumonia.

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    1. Thank you so much for this information! I have added it to the blog and credited you in the sources.

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  6. Methinks there several Tabor children buried at Windy Gap Cemetery as I call it because I learned it from my mother. Most people called it Grave Cap. I am sticking with Mommy.

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    1. Ed, did your mom ever speak to the identities of the parents of those children?

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