Cemetery Stroll to be held Saturday, October 28

Fifteen inhabitants of Scottsboro’s Cedar Hill Cemetery will come alive the afternoon of October 28 from 2:00 until 4:00 during the Cedar Hill Cemetery Stroll.

The fifteen represent a wide spectrum of accomplishments in various fields. The roles of statesmen, law officers, actresses, aviators, writers, philanthropists, and war veterans will be played by local actors who will relate brief histories of the deceaseds’ lives while standing at the gravesides.

In some cases, the actors are relatives of the deceased. In some cases, they were acquainted with the deceased. In every case, the actors are accomplished story tellers with an interest, sometimes even a passion, for the person they are portraying.

The featured Cedar Hill internments and their portrayers are:

The Unknown White Male, ?-1981 (Jerry King): Already buried in a secondhand grave, the unknown man suffered the indignity of being exhumed and reburied following a DNA test to see if he was the man who topped the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted list, William Bradford Bishop, Jr.

Lucille Benson, 1914-1984 (Traci Phillips): A Stevenson native known for her distinctive voice and the idiosyncratic characters she portrayed in films and television, Lucille was a vibrant and sometimes brash local presence.

Sheriff Matt Wann, 1876-1932 (Nat Cisco): Sheriff during the Scottsboro Boys trials, Matt Wann stood his ground in the door of the Jackson County jail to prevent the lynching of the nine youths. He was murdered the next year, perhaps as revenge for his determination to see the justice done.

Cecil Floyd, 1921-1948 (Dr. James Thompson): A decorated WWII fighter pilot, Cecil died in a shakedown flight of America’s prototype jet fighter, the P-80. A sincere and focused young man, he stood in contrast to his more flamboyant brother, Hoo Daddy.

Congressman Bob Jones, 1912-1997 (Carter Jones). A 14-term congressman, Bob Jones was instrumental in the success of the TVA, the founding of the interstate highway system, the revitalization of Huntsville’s Redstone Arsenal, and the drafting and passage of our first environmental protection act.

Dr. Marvin Lynch, 1903-1975 (Les Hutson): Dr. Lynch was Jackson County’s assistant medical examiner who evaluated the two women who claimed to have been raped by The Scottsboro Boys. In a private meeting during the boys’ second trials in Decatur, he convinced the presiding judge that no rape had occurred. As a result, the jury’s verdict of guilty was set aside.

James Morgan Money, 1881-1961 (Ernie Kennamer): He was the Probate Judge who was instrumental in securing funds for the Cumberland (Skyline) project.

Little Tom Shipp, 1901-1907 (Miles Hodges accompanied by his mother, Susan): Son of a prominent Hollywood family, Tom Shipp was run over by a train when it unexpectedly lurched backwards in the Hollywood rail yard.

Charles Raymond Bradford, Jr., 1920-2009 (Bill White): A POW taken in the Battle of the Bulge during WWII, he returned to Scottsboro after the war to settle into civilian life. But when Scottsboro’s Company B was called to Korea, Charles returned to active duty. The command challenge he faced in Korea was remarkably close to one he faced in France, with very different results.

Babs Hodges Deal, 1929-2004 (Joan Reeves): This Scottsboro-born novelist published 12 novels between 1959 and 1979. Her work was adapted for the screen and and published in nationally distributed magazines.

James Skelton, 1870-1915 (Paul Stevenson): Along with brothers Robert and Tot and cousin John, this hardware store manager and scion of a prominent Scottsboro family avenged his sister’s reputation by killing a married man with whom she had an affair.

Dr. W. H. Payne, 1846-1899 (Kelly Goodowens): Compounding pharmacist W.H. Payne is known for Payne’s Drug Store, which was originally opened at the corner of North Houston and Railroad Avenue (now Mary Hunter Avenue) in 1869. It later moved to its current location on the Jackson County square. Today, its soda fountain remains one of Scottsboro’s notable landmarks.

Col. John Snodgrass, 1836-1888 (John Neely): John Snodgrass, Scottsboro mayor and acclaimed Civil War veteran, Col. Snodgrass figured prominently as a civic leader in Scottsboro’s formative years.

Mary Hunter, 1897-1959 (Regina Nicholson): This pioneer female black educator was a tireless advocate for her children at the Hollywood school, where she was a teacher and principal for 40 years. Her son and grandson continued her legacy as educators and writers.

Thomas Cobbs Kyle, 1892-1918 (Logan Boyer): Kyle was awarded the Croix de Guerre for heroism in WWI. He was among the first company of men from Scottsboro to report for service in France where he died in 1918.

In case of rain, the event will be held in Bynum Auditorium in the Page administration building at the corner of College and Market Streets.

The entire walk is four-tenths of a mile. Each presentation will last about five minutes. Water and rest facilities will be made available.

Parking will be in three areas at the periphery of the cemetery: behind Unclaimed Baggage, outside the old National Guard Armory, and at the cemetery entrance near the Jackson County Jail off Parks Avenue. Handicapped parking will be available in the center of the cemetery. The three entrances to the cemetery from Cedar Hill Drive will be closed in the interest of public safety.

Dogs are not allowed. Visitors are cautioned to respect the grounds by not sitting on the grave markers.

The stroll is free, but donations will be accepted. Those donations will be used to purchase a headstone for the unmarked grave of Ed Moody, a US Marshall killed by gunfire in Scottsboro in 1921.

The stroll is a joint venture by Northeast Alabama Community College, The Jackson County Historical Association, and the City of Scottsboro. It is funded by a grant from the Alabama Bicentennial Commission.