Monday, November 3, 2014

A Visit to Historic Hobbs Cemetery in Huntsville

Well, a "visit" is an ambitious word in this case, since the cemetery is so small and so close to my mother's house in southeast Huntsville just north of the Tennessee River. But it's worth a stop, anyway.

This pocket cemetery sits between two houses in a development that is only a few decades old. This section of Huntsville has been growing for some time, as the commercial and residential developments just north in Jones Valley indicate.

Yet in a few places something older will pop up, such as the Historic Hobbs Cemetery on Siniard Drive. And this place is pretty old. More than 20 people are buried here, including John Hobbs who once owned Hobbs Island just to the south. Hobbs died in 1833; his brother-in-law James Fennell died in 1817 and his headstone may be the oldest in Madison County. Where Fennell was originally buried and the relationship between his grave and Hobbs' makes for an interesting story.

A railroad once terminated at the island. Railroad cars would be loaded onto ferries and floated downstream to Guntersville Landing. Offloaded there, the trains then made their way to Gadsden. The island is currently listed for sale at $7.8 million. 

As these photos taken in August show, the cemetery is currently in need of some cleanup. In February 2012 the Huntsville Times ran a story about a Boy Scout who was cleaning up the cemetery as part of his effort to earn the Eagle Scout badge. Nate Hornsby expressed the hope that others would care for the cemetery in the future. Perhaps someone will. although neglected cemeteries are pretty common in America.

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