Mercer Grave Houses, Candler County

These grave houses, located at Salem Baptist Church Cemetery, mark the final resting places of Clemons* Mercer (1832-1881) and Jane Elizabeth “Janie” Johnson Mercer (1835-1880). Clemons Mercer served in the Third Seminole War in Florida and contracted malaria there in 1856, which he never completely recovered from. He was later a lieutenant in the Emanuel County Militia (Captain Moring’s Company) during the Atlanta Campaign in the Civil War. Janie Mercer bore him 11 children, all of whom lived to adulthood.

Gary Lee writes: Local lore is that it was raining the day of her burial and her husband promised that another raindrop would never touch her grave. Her family actually rebuilt these a few years ago. Also near her are two of her sisters, Hattie and Adeline who were married to twin brothers, George Washington Lee and Henry Clay Lee who gave the land and the materials for the church.

*also recorded as Clemmons Mercer

4 Comments

Filed under --CANDLER COUNTY GA--

4 responses to “Mercer Grave Houses, Candler County

  1. Rafe Semmes

    How unusual! I’ve never seen a grave house like this before. Wonder if they were common during a certain period or place?

    Thanks for sending.

    Rafe Semmes Savannah/Midway GA

  2. Gary Lee

    Local lore is that it was raining the day of her burial and her husband promised that another raindrop would never touch her grave. Her family actually rebuilt these a few years ago. Also near her are two of her sisters, Hattie and Adeline who were married to twin brothers, George Washington Lee and Henry Clay Lee who gave the land and the materials for the church.

  3. gajoe42

    Brian, Great shot of the grave house. This practice was commonifor Black graves into the 20th Century. Across the road from Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home in Archery was a graveyard associated with the AME Church and school there. In the case of children, there were also favorite toys. Broken mirrors and clocks also were left. Broken water pitchers are linked to the “under the river” location of the afterlife in some African cultures.I included photos in my 1981 survey. Good work!

  4. gajoe42

    Brian, Great shot of the grave house. This practice was commonifor Black graves into the 20th Century. Across the road from Jimmy Carter’s boyhood home in Archery was a graveyard associated with the AME Church and school there. In the case of children, there were also favorite toys. Broken mirrors and clocks also were left. Broken water pitchers are linked to the “under the river” location of the afterlife in some African cultures.I included photos in my 1981 survey. Good work!

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