Aunt Bula’s tombstone became an art piece – humorous story!

Aunt Bula’s Tombstone.

Dorothy Gast

Aunt Bula was Granny Barton’s older sister that never married. She lived with her mother, Molly Cork, on the old “Red Jim” Cork place about 3 miles northwest of Wesley Chapel Church in Ralph, Alabama. When Molly Cork realized she could no longer manage her farm she made a deal with John Leland Barton, her son-in-law and my grandfather.

Ralph, Alabama


Ralph Alabama landscape

She would deed him the Cork farm if he would build her and Bula a house next to my grandparent’s house on the Barton place behind Wesley Chapel. Since most of the Corks and Barton young people had moved away to find industrial jobs, John Leland and Mamie Barton were the only local family close, three and a half miles away on the Barton place.

The house was built. There was a kitchen, bedroom, living room, and tiny front porch where Molly and Bula could rock and churn, shell peas, and visit with friends and family.pea pods 2

The front of the house was inside the wooden fence that formed a rectangle, keeping toddlers in and chickens out. The two porches were 20 feet apart, providing both companionship and privacy. Molly and Bula shared in the abundance of the farm as well as the work.

The family’s Sunday dinners always brought crowds of young and old to sit around the ten-foot pine table in the Barton house. Company visited in the Cork house, too, often ducking the quilting frame hanging from the ceiling.

One thought bothered Aunt Bula. Whenever family discussed the latest funeral and the monuments, she realized that with no children of her own there might be a possibility that her grave might be marked only by a rock or piece of concrete. She ordered a tombstone carved to her specifications to be placed at the head of her grave.

Guests were startled to find the stone at the foot of her bed protected until the last date could be completed. It was like a prized piece of art, proudly displayed and discussed. Eventually, it went with her to the church cemetery where generations of family were buried in the red Alabama soil.

Discordance: The Cottinghams – Inspired by true events and the Cottingham family that resided in 17th century Somerset, Maryland and Delaware, colonial America comes alive with pirate attacks, religious discord, and governmental disagreements in the pre-Revolutionary War days of America. This is the same Cottingham family of Bibb County, Alabama.

About Dorothy Graham Gast

Dorothy Gast lives in Romulus, Alabama on the Graham family farm. She taught in Tuscaloosa County Schools for nearly 30 years.
She has a ”Mine, yours, and Ours” family. She has volunteered in numerous organizations after her husband’s eight year struggle with Alzheimers’ ended.
She helped organize a volunteer fire department after she was 60 and served as board secretary and nationally certified firefighter after extensive training.
Her attempts to get the community reading failed, but she contributed books to the new Sipsey Valley high school from the library in her home friends helped her establish.

She is known locally by the silhouettes she cuts free hand of children. She began to write nostalgia stories after a grandson asked her to write down the stories often told at family events.

2 Responses to Aunt Bula’s tombstone became an art piece – humorous story!

  1. Elaine Burroughs says:

    i love this story! I was related to this impressive lady on my Mothers side. My mother was Sarah Black Jones and her mother was Lucille Lamb. I don’t remember a lot of history from her side of the family I’m sad to say , but I do remember Annice Graham, Florence Quarles and Christine Smith. All wonderful ladies! Thanks for sharing this info!!

  2. Cindy Johnson says:

    I enjoyed reading this! I’m going to show it to my Mom (Barbara Boothe Anders). I love family history!

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