A Genealogical Miscellany Henderson County, Tennessee VI
By Jonathan Kennon Thompson Smith
Copyright, Jonathan K. T. Smith, 2002

(Page 17)

To reach the Reed burial ground drive east from court square in Lexington on U.S. Highway 412 (State 20) to a point at about 3.4 miles to Shady Hill Road; turn right (south) onto this road and drive about 1.8 miles to a point on the east side of this road, the Mrs. Gladys Jones Snider residence, the ancestral Joseph Reed homeplace, behind which about .2 mile to the southeast is the Reed graveyard. The present writer read the tombstone inscriptions there in the fall of 2001.

ELLEN, wife of William Reed
Born Dec. 10,1822
Died Dec. 2, 1902

(Masonic emblem)
Born June 16,1834
Died Sept.12,1890
Into thy hands I commend my spirit.

W. M., consort of Ellen Reed
Born Dec. 5, 1810
Died Oct.19, 1886
Aged 75 yrs 10 mos 14 ds
[a broken tombstone]

JAMES W., son of C. V. & Mrs. M. E. Reed
Born Nov. 24, 1871
Died Mar. 14, 1872
Sleep on dear child and take thy rest
in Jesus' arms, forever blessed.


(Page 18)

Erected by J. M. Ferguson,
MARY ANN wife of J. M. Ferguson
Born Feb. 23, 1836
Died Jan. 28, 1907
Aged 71 ys 11 mos 3 ds
A previous one from us has gone, A voice we loved is stilled. A place is vacant in our home which cannot be filled. God in his wisdom has recalled thee home, his love had given. Though the body slumbers here the soul is safe in heaven.
[a broken tombstone]

JOHN L. Reed
Born Mar. 9, 1806
Died May 30, 1879
[This tombstone is virtually destroyed by the elements]

Sacred to the memory of
Who departed this life the 21 of January 1849
Aged 2 years
[footstone reads JHRC]

Infant DAUGHTER of C. V. & M. E. Reed
Born Nov. 16, 1882
Died Nov. 18, 1882
Sleep on, sweet babe, and take thy rest.
God called thee home. He thought it best.

Infant SON of C. V. & M. E. Reed
Born Sept. 2, 1870
Died Sept. 2, 1870
Sleep on dear babe and take thy rest.
God called thee home. He thought it best.

FRANCIS E., daughter of C. V. & M. E. Reed
Born July 25, 1880
Died May 14, 1893
Her spirit smiles from that bright shore and softly whispers weep no more.


Tradition has it that Joseph Reed, Sr.(died 1861) and his wife, Mary, are buried in unmarked graves here.

NOTE: There is supposedly a family relationship between Joseph Reed and John H. Reid but if so the nature of that relationship is now unknown. The latter's tombstone inscription has been subject to different interpretations. The tombstone has fallen, is broken in pieces, and the inscription is dimmed from the elements. The present writer renders the inscription as he reports it in the listing above. Some individuals, not accustomed to reading very old inscriptions, have said the death date is 1811 which commonsense (due to time and place) dictates cannot be correct. There is no reason to assume the tombstone was brought here from elsewhere in the distant past. The fact is that old-time stone-cutters often made the triangle in the numeral four lighter (perhaps from fashion) and when this part of the numeral wears away, only the bar is visible except under the closest and impartial scrutiny. It is a matter of no personal consequence to the present writer but he believes accuracy rather than fancy should determine what is revealed on stone or in writing.

On March 23, 1849, shortly after John H. Reid died, the administrator of his estate, J. L. Ross, published through the county court clerk, notice that "all persons having claims against said estate [Reid's] to file them with the clerk of said court duly authenticated on or before the 5th day of November 1850."[1]

John H. Reid's tombstone has a mystery about it. The age given for him is decidedly inscribed "2 years" but this again surely cannot have been the case. It wouldn't be the first instance of a stone-cutter's mistake, accepted by heirs for various reasons including refusal to pay additional fee for major corrections. There is, of course, the possibility that an infant child, a son bearing his name, of John H. Reid who was deceased by May 1849, died at nearly the same time as his father. It has even been suggested that this is the case, obliquely reflected in the footstone inscribed JHRC [C = child?]. Was the grave of the senior Reid never marked or has his tombstone been carried off?

John H. Read is listed in Civil District 13 of Henderson County, owner of 100 acres valued at $1000 (and a slave valued at $1450) in the 1836 tax list of the county. The 1840 census entry for John H. Read suggests that he was then in the 30-40 age category:[2]


(Page 19)

Click here for larger image.


If the tombstone is that of an adult John H. Reid, then his age was more nearly 42.



  1. THE WEST TENNESSEE WHIG, Jackson, Tenn., May 4, 1849. The notice, costing $8, was published in several issues of this newspaper. Reid's name was spelled READ in these notices.
  2. U.S. Census, Henderson Co., Tenn., page 363.


Photograph are from Historical Tour of Henderson County, Tennessee, courtesy of William "Mike" Deere and the Henderson County TNGENWEB page. The tour has other Reed family information.


Return to Henderson County, Tennessee Cemetery Records