William Demonbreun (1786-1870) Family Cemetery, College Grove, Williamson County, Tennessee
William Demonbreun (1786-1870)

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The William Demonbreun family graveyard is located on parts of the original lands owned by William Demonbreun (1786-1870). The family graveyard and a right-of-way is owned by Demonbreun descendants and the lands surrounding the graveyard is owned by Miller Culberson of the Arno-College Grove Road, west of College Grove in Williamson County, Tennessee. Within the old family graveyard lies the remains of William Demonbreun who was born in Demonbreun’s Cave on the Cumberland River at Nashville, Tennessee, in 1786. William was a large land owner and slave owner in the area of Williamson County. His tombstone in this graveyard is inscribed with his birth date as 1794, but court records in Williamson County shows that he did not know his birthday. Davidson County, Tennessee court records had to be relied upon and do show that he was born in 1786. William was the son of our illustrious ancestor and Nashville pioneer, Capt. Timothy Demonbreun (1747-1826) and Elizabeth Hensley Deraque (1740-1856). The parents were not married as proven in the 1826 Will of Capt. Demonbreun in Nashville. The Will says William Demonbreun was born “illegitimate”. William Demonbreun took out a marriage license in Rutherford County, Tennessee and was married to Mary Adline Patton (1801-1854) on January 9, 1819. They became the parents to eleven children, seven of whom are buried in the Demonbreun family graveyard. There are about 42 individuals buried in the graveyard, both white and black, and the first burial was in 1832 it being the burial of Mary Adline Demumbry, the daughter of William and Mary Adline (Patton) Demonbreun. At that time the family name was spelled Demumbry and this is the spelling that is inscribed on the child’s tombstone. She was born May 30, 1830 and died June 4, 1832. She lies buried by the side of her 13 year old sister, Mary Adline Demumbry who has the same name and same spelling. She was born on June 14, 1835 and died November 10, 1848. The following burials were the mother, Mary Adline Demumbry (1801-1854); daughters, Charity A. Roberts (1822-1855) and Rebecca U. Dobson (1824-1857), and so forth. During about 1906, Joseph Timothy Demonbreun (1826-1909), a son of William Demonbreun, had all the old original family tombstones removed from the graves of his parents and sisters and replaced with new marble stones. He also had an old wooden fence removed and replaced with a new and durable iron-wire fence installed. During the 1920’s a tornado came through the area and displaced many of the old tombstones and over the ensuing years cattle was allowed to roam and graze in the graveyard, thinking this would keep the weeds and grass down, but this only caused damage to the stones being overturned. The iron-pole wire fence stood until about the 1980’s when it too fell from age, vegetation and vines which was allowed to grow on it. The old landmark graveyard presented a preventable sad sight---a graveyard in such despair!

I am the great-great grandson of William and Mary Adline (Patton) Demonbreun and the great grandson of John F. and Sallie Ann (Merritt) Demonbreun who also are buried here. And I am the grandson of John Burton Demonbreun and the son of Minnie Eva (Demonbreun) Cook Anderson. One day back in June of 1991, as I was visiting the graveyard, I stood gazing over the condition of the abandon family graveyard of my mother’s family. My mother’s maiden name is Demonbreun, she being Minnie Eva (Demonbreun) Cook Anderson (1917-2007). The old fence was on the ground in sections and all the tombstones were lying on the ground, not one stone was standing, and some were even buried under dirt and leaves in the graves they marked. I at that moment made plans in my mind to do something about the deplorable condition of this sacred and historic family graveyard. My own grandfather, John Burton Demonbreun, who is not buried here, but his parents are buried here along with his two sisters and his first wife who did not have a tombstone and who died in 1908. By the following fall of 1991 I established the “Friends of the William Demumbrane Graveyard Restoration” to secure funds to have a heavy-duty chain-link fence erected around the graveyard. I had the support of The Timothy Demonbreun Heritage Society. By October of that same year I began to receive some money toward the fence, but not much. With the help of my youngest son, Jason, in February and March of the following year, 1992, we reset all the tombstones to their upright positions. I have been in and out of the old graveyard many time, as far back as the 1960’s, but on a visit on August 18, 1985, while trying to read some of the stones, I accidentally stumbled upon a number of old tombstones scattered and hidden under years of dirt and leaves. These stones were discovered outside of the old dilapidated fence on the west side of the graveyard and were the tombstones that had originally been put at the grave sites when the family members died. They were the original stones for William Demumbrane (1794-1870); Mary Adline Demumbry (1801-1854), Mary Adline Demumbry (1830-1832); Mary Adline Demumbry, Jun. (1835-1848) and Charity A. Roberts (1822-1855). Rebecca U. Dodson (1824-1857) had an original tombstone but her stone was never recovered or found. I had a cousin, who we knew as Aunt Johnnie L. Demonbreun (1904-1986), who lived in College Grove. Over the many years I knew her, she has given me much family information and information about the family graveyard. It was she who related that Joseph Timothy Demonbreun had the old tombstones removed sometime about 1906, two years before he died, and replaced with new marble tombstones. He also replaced the old cedar wooden fence with a new iron-wire fence. When my son Jason and I restored the graveyard back to it original condition, in 1992, we placed all the old original stones back to their grave sites. Some of our ancestors in the graveyard have two tombstones. By the fall of 1996, $1,562.00 had been collected for the new fence and it was erected on August 23 of that year. Written by Jerry W. Cook, Wartrace, Tenn.
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