From the Vertical Files, Tennessee Room, Jackson-Madison County Library
HEADSTRONES IN ROPE FIELD
By Linda J. Higgins, daughter of
Malcolm Lee Jennings, son of
Ortna Lee Jennings, daughter of
William Barron Baxter
[HTML editor's note: This cemetery is called Freeling Cemetery in Cemetery Records of Madison County, Tennessee, Volune I, The Southern Half of County.]
Rope Field Burying Ground is located behind Claude Glynn Henderson's home at 2476 Riverside Drive (about 3 to 4 miles from the Jackson City limits). The land is owned by Henderson and the cemetery is actually a part of his cow pasture.
Tim C. Williams owned the field when Rope Field Burying Ground was established. Grandma (Ortna Lee Jennings) didn't like it when he (Mr. Williams) took the fence and gate down and let his cows wander through the cemetery.
Daddy (Malcolm Lee Jennings) remembers seeing the wagon pass his house (he lived then in a house on top of the hill on Caldwell Road, which was then only know as the crossroads to Malesus) bringing the coffin of Julia A. Freeling (wife of John H. Freeling) to be buried in Rope Field in 1914. Her's appears to be the last burial.
Headstones in this cemetery are as follows:
- Nancy V. Freeling
born Feb. 18, 1827
died Nov. 1, 1870
- John H. Freeling
Oct. 10, 1826-June 2, 1892
Julia A., His Wife
- Annie O. Freeling
daughter of J. H. & J. A.
March 21, 1875 Oct. 23, 1875
Another grave close to these, and one that Daddy thinks belongs to the Freeling family, did not have an identifying headstone, but was very distinctive. It was completely covered with a rounded half cylindrical tomb, formed by using wagon wheel rims filled in with bricks and covered smooth with concrete. Part had fallen in so that one could examine how it was made. Daddy thought the Freelings might have lived in an old home site that was supposed to have been across the field.
- Henry Newton
born July 13, 1805
died April 9, 1878
Aged 72 years, 8 mo. 26 D
- Elizabeth W.
Wife of Henry Newton
Born Aug. 4, 1813
Died Jan. 8, 1867
Aged 53 years, 5 mo. 4 D
- William B. Newton
- George W. Jennings
At first I thought the 1861 was 1811, but after studying family records we decided it had to be 1861 for George W. Jennings, who was Matthew M. Jennings brother. Matthew M. Jennings is the father of Malcolm Lee Jennings. Grandma put the tombstone there many years later (maybe 20 or 30 years after the death). Daddy hand scratched the names and dates into the homemade tomb rocks.
- Flora and Myrtle Baxter
Age 19 and 21
These were Ortna Lee Baxter Jennings' half sisters. According to Grandma's diary, they died one day apart of pneumonia and were buried in the same grave on Easter Sunday.
- W. B. Baxter
He was Ortna Lee Glynn Jennings' father, Malcolm's grandfather and Linda's great grandfather. He was born ca 1826 in York Co., S.C., son of Andrew and Violet Barron Baxter. They migrated to Tennessee around 1836 — first to Hickman Co., Tenn. and then to McNairy Co., Tenn. He married Isabell D. Wilson, Sept 9, 1852. She died in 1871 while Grandma was a baby. He married Lydia L. Baxter.* She died Aug. 8, 1884 after they had moved to Madison Co., but both wives are buried in Bethel Springs Cemetery. William Barron Baxter died while living with his daughter, Ortna Lee, at her farm on top of the hill of the crossroads from Malesus to the Madison Hall Community — the road now known as the Caldwell Road.
Claude Henderson, who owns the land where Rope Field Burying Ground is located, is the grandson of Ortna Lee Baxtor Glynn Jennings, son of Trula Glynn Henderson. Ortna was married to Mike Glynn before she .was married to Matthew M. Jennings.
*Note from Linda J. Higgins, July 13, 2003
William Barron Baxter's second wife Lydia L. Baxter was originally Lydia L. Wilson (same maiden name as his first wife, but no kin that I can determine). They married in McNairy Co. and came to Madison Co. in 1881. She died here in Madison Co. when they were living at Carroll Station.