On a high hill overlooking the beautiful and expansive valley and headwaters of Stone Creek which enters the East Fork of Mulberry Creek, just North of Lynchburg in Southern Middle Tennessee, is located the old burial ground of James Burns Gowen, an early pioneer and settler of Bedford – and now Moore County, Tennessee. It was here about the year 1808 that he built his little log cabin and brought his young wife to toil upon the soil as a farmer, hunter in the vast forest lands, and fish in the clear cool streams of the area. Also, it was here that he and his two wives reared eighteen (18) children and he planted a small cedar tree on the top of this hill of his farm as the future location for his final resting place.
The Gowens, Prices, Emorys, Crocketts, Wisemans, Baxters, Drivers, Bedfords, Cunninghams, Browns, Anthonys, Edens, Hales, Houstons, Floyds, Mullins, and others of this era and area at the turn of the century were of a tenacious and rugged character – highly independent, adventurous, determined, resourceful, and resilient. They were country people with country understanding who worshiped their lord and thanked their god for the bounty of life that he bestowed on them. They were of a tough-sinewed clan who withstood fire, flood, and famine. They were respectful of the attainments of the mind above the accumulations of the flesh. Some had no education but had an abundant talent to live and survive.
The James Burns Gowen Cedar Tree Cemetery on this little hill provide a fusion of the past pioneers with a synthesis of the modern world, and to those that visit here, a sense of timelessness in a period long forgotten. Life is a miracle in the renewal of family in future generations, however, when the apple is ripe, it will fall from the tree, and for the frail body, a final resting place must be established and prepared. A cycle is completed – we are born and we die.
The souls and spirits that rest in this little cemetery were buried in noble death and should always be resurrected in magnanimous memory – their life a token of meaning for us and a memento of the beauty of their days on this earth. They should not fall to the deadly modern disease of ignorance of one’s heritage. By learning about the lives of one’s forefathers interned in these old burial grounds - how they lived and how they died, one learns a lot about one’s self. While dates are important, much more so is the knowledge of the experiences, trials, and tribulations – and successes of the folks interned in these old burial plots – the greatest asset one can inherit.
The families represented in the James Burns Gowen Cedar Tree Cemetery are like that of the Oak tree – from an acorn the stout tree grows and forms limbs and branches of future generations. Through the limbs and branches flow our DNA and the blood of our forefathers, and for this, we owe them dignity and honor. The generations that sprang from the individuals buried in this old cemetery spread to all corners of our nation – and the world. And they included – merchants, military members, doctors, lawyers, educators, housewives, politicians, farmers, cattlemen, lumbermen, musicians, preachers – and all occupations of life. Our heritage grows on a daily basis and should be preserved.
The highest awareness of one’s heritage, and our culture, is when descendants maintain the grave sites of their forefathers and foremothers, and only then do they earn the right to have their own final resting place treated likewise. What greater recognition and honor for their forefather’s toil and sacrifice on this earth can future generations bestow on the individuals interned in the old burial grounds, than to have them treated with tender loving care and protected from the elements and thoughtless actions of nature and man?
There can be no greater honor, no higher level of dedication to family, no greater tribute to the memory of loved ones and heritage than to restore, maintain, and provide for the perpetual care of their final resting place.
Will you join with the James Burns Gowen Cedar Tree Cemetery Association, Inc. – a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to the restoration, maintenance, enhancement, and perpetual care of this old family burial ground located in Moore County – North of Lynchburg, Tennessee? Your membership in the Association, contributions, support, and prayers will be appreciated. SEE CONTACT PAGE.