We’ve become very accustomed to seeing macabre crosses and wreaths on the side of the road marking some terrible tragedy, but an actual lone grave on the side of the road begs some explanation even though hundreds of people pass it each day with nary a notice.
At one time someone did take notice and surrounded the grave with a fence and actually enclosed the grave with bricks and a marker. A bench was added, a decorative sundial and the remnants of a few plantings still exist.
The grave is at the intersection of Burris and Land Roads in the Clayton Community of Cherokee County, and is at the outer edge of the property belonging to Clayton Elementary School.
The grave is marked Aaron Burris…..1796-1864. The year of death leads one to think perhaps Mr. Burris was a soldier in the Civil War, and was slain by an enemy bullet, but look at the birth and death dates again. Do some elementary subtraction and we discover Mr. Burris was 68 at the time of his death – a little old to be traipsing off to whoop some Yankee butt.
The story goes Mr. Burris was one of a few handful of men who were left behind with the ladies while their men folk marched gallantly off to defend the ill-fated Confederate cause. Some ailment took hold of Mr. Burris and he passed away.
Suddenly the women living in the Clayton Community had a neighbor to bury and no men were around to do the necessaries.
Now…….I consider myself to be a very strong Southern woman. In fact, if you knew half of what I’ve experienced over the last four to five years you would beg me to let you off my crazy roller coaster ride, BUT….prepare my neighbor’s body for burial and dig the grave????
I’m not THAT woman, but – perhaps I need to rethink here – my quickness in doubting my abilities betray the memories of those women and one in particular Sarah Emmaline Land (Cline), wife of James Johnson Land, my great-great grandmother.
The Civil War/Atlanta page at The Examiner has more information regarding women on the home front.