Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010
St. John's Church in Ashwood, located between the towns of Columbia and Mt. Pleasant, is still a beloved historical site in Tennessee's Maury County. Built by Leonidas Polk, and his 3 brothers—cousins to the 11th President or the United States, James K. Polk—the church and cemetery are made up of land owned by brothers. The Polks also donated the material for the church, which was built by slave labor and completed in 1842. As a plantation church, it provided a place of worship for the Polk families, their slaves, and their neighbors. Leonidas Polk served as its first rector before becoming the first Bishop of Louisiana and later a general in the Confederate Army. Lt. Gen. Polk was killed a few days before the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain at the head of the First Corps.
Photo by Mark Dolan, June 2010St. John's Church
It is almost worth dying to be buried in such a beautiful spot —Patrick R. Cleburne
During the war, the church was used as a Confederate hospital, as were many public buildings and private homes in the area. The cemetery lies behind the church where Gens. Cleburne, Granbury, and Strahl were buried following the Battle of Franklin. Later their remains were removed and reinterred in other states, although their gravesites at St. John’s were never used again.
Over the years the St. John's congregation dwindled, and today regular services are no longer held.
Kind reader, right here my pen, and courage, and ability fail me. I shrink from the butchery. Would to God I could tear the page from these memoirs and from my own memory. It is the blackest page in the history of the war of the Lost Cause. It was the bloodiest battle of modern times in any war. It was the finishing stroke to the independence of the Southern Confederacy. I was there.
|Zion Presbyterian Church Cemetery, Est. 1807|
In addition to Sam R. Watkins, soldiers from the Civil War, the War of 1812,
and the Revolutionary War are buried here, too.