Answered By: Doug Bolden
Last Updated: Oct 07, 2015     Views: 838

That is the Perkins cemetery and you can find a list of the people buried there at http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gsr&GScid=25349.  See the below article from the Huntsville Times on the story behind Capt. Lewellen Jones.




Huntsville Times (Alabama)
May 12, 2007 Saturday
2 EDITION

Bit of Valley Forge history buried behind UAH hall

BYLINE: MIKE MARSHALL, Times Staff Writer

SECTION: LOCAL NEWS; Pg. 1B

LENGTH: 615 words

Society to unveil marker at grave of captain in war

Today's history lesson will be held at a small cemetery on the western rim of the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

Three box graves and two headstones are in the cemetery behind Morton Hall, the oldest building on the UAH campus.

But the man buried under the bleached headstone on the far end of the cemetery is the reason for today's lesson on the Revolutionary War.

He's being honored at noon today by the Alabama Brigade of the Society of the Descendants of Washington's Army at Valley Forge.

About 25 people will gather at the cemetery for an unveiling of a marker honoring Capt. Lewellen Jones, one of five people buried in Madison County who survived a bitter winter at Valley Forge with little to eat and inadequate clothes and shelter. It is regarded as one of the epic events that symbolized the heroism of the American revolutionaries.

Two of Jones' descendants, Jacque Reeves and Leslie Gray, are scheduled to unveil the marker. Reeves, author of two history books, has been researching Jones' life for more than 25 years.

Perhaps most impressive to her is Jones' rise in the military. By 16, he was a captain in the Revolutionary Army.

"I think it was because his family had money and his family's connection to George Washington," she said. "What else could it be?"

Jones' mother and Martha Washington, George's wife, were first cousins. Jones was also related to Patrick Henry, perhaps the most celebrated orator of the American Revolution.

While growing up in New Mexico, Reeves was fascinated by family tales of the American Revolution and the Civil War. Her interest in Jones began after reading a newspaper article in the 1970s about efforts in Huntsville to recognize Jones' war achievements.

When she moved to Huntsville from California in 1992, Reeves' curiosity was renewed. More and more, she began to find information about him at the Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.

She discovered, for instance, that Jones' encampment at Valley Forge began on Dec. 19, 1776. Five days later, he was reported sick.

After the war, he moved to Petersburg, Ga., in the northern part of the state. By the early 1800s, he had sold 4,000 acres in Virginia - his compensation for serving in the war - and moved to North Alabama.

First, he lived on a plantation in Greenbrier, known as Druid's Grove. In 1820, he moved to Huntsville.

He paid $18,742 for land that is now part of the UAH campus. He bought his Huntsville plantation, known as Avalon, from a man who owed him $8,000.

He died three weeks after moving to Huntsville. About five years ago, Reeves discovered how. She found a letter to Sen. John Williams Walker, who was part of a group known as "the Georgia Faction." Walker and Jones were part of the group, known for its political influence.

"Lewellen Jones put a period to his existence last night by hanging himself," the friend wrote Walker in a letter dated Jan. 27, 1820.

Said Reeves: "It was a shock to me when I found that."

Reeves' research indicated that Jones had been seized by a financial panic. Cotton prices had fallen in 1819. Banks had collapsed.

Most residents of North Alabama had relied on credit, believing that cotton prices would rise soon. In Reeves' view, Jones concluded before his death that the IOU notes were worthless.

"Family histories had taken that out," she said. "I have ancestors who are rolling in their graves because I put that back in."

Today, though, she and the members of the Society of Descendants of Washington's Army at Valley Forge honor him with their history lesson at the cemetery.

"What we're trying to do," she said, "is promote knowledge of history in the area."

 

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