(ODD)yssey

This fascinating cemetery has both seashell and cast-iron grave covers

Greenville, Alabama, is home to one of the most unusual cemeteries in the state: Pioneer Cemetery. It not only includes graves covered in seashells – an old southern custom – it has a number of graves with cast-iron covers.

Click here to read the history of Victorian-era seashell graves.

Click here to learn more about cast-iron cemetery decorations.

Pioneer Cemetery, established in 1819, also has some beautiful statuary and headstones with interesting reliefs.

A history of the cemetery at pioneercemeteryal.com says, “Pioneer Cemetery, established in 1819, is Greenville’s oldest cemetery. The oldest known grave is that of James Dunklin (June 24, 1779 – April 10, 1827), but there are many unmarked and ‘lost’ graves that may be older. Captain William Butler, for whom the county is named, is buried there along with many Greenville/Butler County pioneers and Confederate Civil War soldiers. The last burial in Pioneer Cemetery took place in 1961 when Lily Black Stanley (July 2, 1876-August 3, 1961) was buried there.”

The Pioneer Cemetery Preservation Association was founded in 2008 to maintain the aging graves. Donations can be made by visiting the website or mailing it to P.O. Box 782, Greenville, AL 36037.

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Rare seashell grave covers at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Headstone on the graves of the Dunklin children at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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A statue on the graves of the Dunklin children at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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A statue on the graves of the Dunklin children at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Graves of Dunklin children at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Graves of the Dunklin children at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Graves of the Dunklin children at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Statueat Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Grave at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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This relief is on the headstone of a soldier, George M. Cook, in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. He died during the Civil War in 1862 at the age of 31. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Grave of George Cook at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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The headstone on the grave of Emma Herbert is one of the most interesting and unusual reliefs I’ve seen on a headstone. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Grave of Emma Herbert at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Headstone at Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Rare seashell grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Rare seashell grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)
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Cast-iron grave cover in Pioneer Cemetery in Greenville. (Photo by Wil Elrick/Permission Required)

2 thoughts on “This fascinating cemetery has both seashell and cast-iron grave covers”

  1. Girl! It’s your fault I followed the link in your article on seashell-covered graves and bought ANOTHER book to add to the piles and stacks around here! Geez….I didn’t need it for sure, but if you recommended it, then I knew I’d find it interesting too. I loved this article since I have a soft spot for old cemeteries and graveyards including the incredible amount of folk art and “tombstone stories” that fill them. Keep writing……you have a gift for it. And I’ll keep reading your wonderful articles and books.
    Gracias!

    Like

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