Sam Watkins Church and Cemetery
2322 Zion Rd, Columbia, TN 38401
“The Zion Presbyterian Church is a historic building in Maury County, Tennessee. The church was built between 1847 and 1849 of brick in the Greek Revival style. President James K. Polk attended a school conducted by the church. The property was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 13, 1972.”
It is believed to be the oldest Church in Maury County, Tennessee.
“Zion Presbyterian Church was established in the early 19th-century by Scots-Irish families from South Carolina who moved to Maury County, Tennessee. In 1807, they organized and built a structure on 5,000 acres (20 km²) of land they purchased from heirs of Major-General Nathanael Greene, who had received the land as part of a 25,000-acre (100 km²) American Revolutionary War land grant. The original building was replaced with a brick structure in 1813. The present building was constructed in the Greek Revival style by members and their slaves using brick, limestone, and timber. The architectural styling features stepped gables and a recessed open vestibule. A gallery was also provided for slaves to attend service. In the 1880s, Tiffany Stained Glass windows were added to the church building.
With over 1,500 graves, the Zion Presbyterian Church cemetery of is also of historical significance. In addition to many of the church’s founding members, soldiers from the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, and the American Civil War are also interred there. The church cemetery contains a monument to “Daddy Ben,” a slave who, during the Revolutionary War, refused to tell the British where his master was hiding, and survived three hanging attempts by the British Army.” – Wikipedia
It is the final resting place of Private Sam Watkins, who was raised near by:
“Samuel Rush “Sam” Watkins (June 26, 1839 – July 20, 1901) was an American writer and humorist. He fought through the entire Civil War and saw action in many major battles. Today, he is best known for his enduring memoir, “Co. Aytch,” which recounts his life as a soldier in the Confederate States Army.” – Wikipedia
NOTE: I would like to add one footnote about Sam Watkins’ narrative: Col Robert Farquharson is mentioned twice in “Co. Aytch” leading the 4th Tennessee. He was actually Colonel of the 41st Tennessee. My GGF Capt. Walter Scott Bearden served as an officer under his command. They apparently fought together at the Bloody Angle at Kennesaw Mountain.
360º Panorama of The Zion Presbyterian Church