Situated at the end of a dirt road and surrounded by fields and forest, the Joiner Cemetery [also, more properly, known as Wallace Cemetery] is typical of many rural burying grounds at first glance.
Further inspection reveals that it’s anything but typical. It contains a mixture of Victorian and vernacular memorials. I’m only focusing on the vernacular examples here.
Vernacular Memorials of Joiner Cemetery
All of the vernacular memorials in Joiner Cemetery feature similar design elements, notably saw-tooth frames around text and the use of stenciled letters; unfortunately, most have some sort of damage and should be considered highly endangered. I believe they are made of poured concrete and are not all contemporary to the burials, as is most evident with the Mashburn burials. The font of the stenciled letters is not contemporary to their death dates.
The Eliza Joiner Bullington memorial is the most extraordinary in Joiner Cemetery. The top of the stone contains a pictograph featuring a hand print, an unknown symbol, and a star in a circle, representative of heavenly eternity as best I can guess.
The crowded text, surrounded by a saw-tooth frame found on other vernacular memorials in the cemetery, reads: Mrs. Eliza Wife Of Rev R [Rubin] Bullington Born Aug The 18th 1839 & Died July The 4 1884 Thy Hand O God Doth Save Me And The Star Of Thy Heavens Doth Give Me Light
The tomb of Rubin and Eliza Joiner Bullington’s daughter, Mary, is perhaps the nicest of the vernacular memorials, though it has been badly damaged over the years.
The gravesite of the unnamed infant of William and Betty Joiner is similar to the previous memorial for Mary Joiner, though not as elaborate in design. The inscription reads: Its Spirit Returns to God Who Gave It
The fading inscription on this memorial reads: Susan Carr Wife of Alaxander [sic] S. Carr Born Sept. the 4th 1861 & Died Sept. the 21th [sic] 1881. Blessed Is The Pure In Heart For They Shall See God. She Shoutingly Exclaimed That She Could See Her Loved Ones Who Had Gone Before. Susan We Know How Precious You Were On This Green Earth But How Can We Envy Heaven Of So Bright a Juel [sic].
*- The transcribed date of death on Findagrave is 1881, but viewing it through an infrared filter, I believe it to be 1881.
This is a representative example of the saw-tooth frame found on headstones throughout Joiner Cemetery. The decedent was the infant daughter of Reverend Rubin and Seebelle Bullington. I presume this is the same Reverend R. Bullington who was married to Eliza Joiner until her death.
The marker reads: In Remembrance of Luallen* [sic] Mashburn…Blessed Are The Dead That Die In The Lord. They Rest From Their Labor And Their Works Do Follow Them.
*-Misspellings are quite common on vernacular headstones, as is the case here. With names, it can sometimes be a guessing game, but there’s a more formal stone associated with this burial, so I know that Lewellen is the correct spelling.
This tomb is of the same style as Mary Bullington’s and the Joiner infant’s. I believe it was a later marking of an earlier burial, likely done around the same time as the aforementioned, in the 1870s-1880s.
James Daniel Mashburn’s memorial is also likely a later replacement of an earlier version. It’s decorated with a lamb, commonly associated with children. He and sister Mary Amanda were the children of Lewellen and Elizabeth F. Lock(e)* Mashburn.
Elizabeth F. Lock(e) was the daughter of James Lock and Athali E. Adams Lock. The spelling error is likely accidental.
The inscription reads: For I Know That My Redeemer Liveth And That He Shall Steady At The Latter Day If On The Earth: And Though After [remainder illegible]
The stone on this memorial reads: How Bright Is The Day When The Christian Receives The Sweet Message To Come To Rise To The Mansions Of Glory And Be There Forever At Home
This is one of the last of the vernacular memorials, chronologically. Martha Delia was the daughter of John F. and Susan Singletary Scarborough.
This tapered obelisk is unique among the vernacular memorials at Joiner Cemetery. The iron frame was added to preserve it after a break. Dessie was the infant daughter of W. G. and Mary E. Joiner.
Regarding the unknown symbol on the grave of Eliza Joiner Bullington, I’ve sometimes wondered if it’s a pie with a slice missing. That’s just a guess, but that’s the only thing I’ve been able to come up with.
My name is Neil Joiner. A friend forwarded me a link to this article. Thanks so much for your excellent work. Wallace Cemetery is the correct name but it’s often called Joiner. My great, and great-great, grandparents are buried there. It’s located off Third District Road, Unadilla, GA. I write a weekly column which is posted at joinerscorner.com. Four stories about the cemetery are, “Finding Watler Nutt,” “Whiskey, Guns, & Horses,” “Wallace Cemetery – An Unsolved Murder,” and Wallace Cemetery – The Rest of the Story.” Thanks again for helping preserve some of Georgia’s vanishing history.
Thanks, Neil. This is such a beautiful cemetery, even in its state of disrepair. I will check out those articles and link them here as soon as I can.
Located where in Dooly County?
There is no cemetery address ,but the nearest residence is 1277 Third District Road, Unadilla.
Very nice photo essay, Mister Brian.
This looks like a grave yard in Cherokee County I found many years ago, last burial 1900. I didn’t know what vernacular was when I found it. I know some Joiners in Waycross. Very educational Brian. Thank you.
Some typos in your transcriptions, such as Be He for Be There.