Old Morton Family Cemetery
Lamar County, Alabama
Number 174 on the 2002 Cemetery Map of Lamar County.
Surveyed August 26, 2005 by Greg Pinkerton and Paul Hays
This cemetery is located at the top of a hill east of Yellow Creek Road, about one mile north of Highway 18 at the eastern edge of Vernon. There is a sign at the wood line on the right. The cemetery is on private land, and is accessible only by a trek up the hill on foot. It is notlocated, as indicated on the Cemetery Map, down near the creek.
Little remains of this family cemetery. There are a dozen or more identifiable gravesites, some marked by fieldstones and others only by depressions in the ground. Only one gravestone has been found in the past fifty years, and it had fallen and broken into four pieces before it was discovered. When assembled that stone reads:
Talitha D. Finch, wife of Thomas H. Finch, July 17, 1847 – Mar. 8, 1880.
Talitha Douglas Morton Finch was the eldest child of Lydia Matilda Redus and Newton F. Morton. She married Thomas Harvey Finch on December 27, 1865, in Fayette County. Their four children were
Alson F. (married Sarah Abigail Thomas)
Mary Adine (married Rutherford B. Hayes Guin)
Emma Jane (married Isom Green Hankins)
Thomas Newton (first wife unknown; married 2nd Daisy A. Taylor).
After Talitha’s death, Tom Finch married Elizabeth E. “Lethia” Thomas, daughter of Sarah Key and John Tapley Thomas, who bore five children before her death in 1901. Finch’s third wife was Priscilla Rebecca Harvey Hankins (“Aunt Puss”), only daughter of Martha A. Marchbanks and William P. Harvey. She was the widow of John B. Hankins, and had seven children from her first marriage, all of whom were still at home. Puss Finch died in 1957 and is buried at Shiloh Baptist Church Cemetery. Tom Finch and Lethia Thomas Finch are buried at Morton’s Chapel Cemetery.
The senior surviving descendant of Talitha Morton Finch is probably her granddaughter and namesake, Talitha Cumi Hankins (Mrs. Eddie Woods) Collins. In her younger days, Mrs. Collins often climbed the hill to place flowers on her grandmother’s grave. A piece of one of her vases still lies next to the broken headstone.
People long familiar with this cemetery can remember no other identifiable headstones. The cemetery is near the site of the old Morton Mill on Yellow Creek, so it is probable that the other graves are of earlier members of the family that ran the mill.
The land on which the cemetery in located had passed from the Morton family long before Clarence L. Pinkerton purchased the property from Loyd Graves on Dec. 15, 1956. According to Mr. Pinkerton’s son, Joe, it conveyed encumbered by the remainder of a 99-year lease on the cemetery retained by the Morton family. Shortly after the purchase, Mr. Pinkerton assembled his entire family and instructed them that as long as any of them lived, they were to protect the cemetery and see that it not be disturbed. The Pinkerton family continues to observe that mandate today.