OK, so the words of the old gospel song are a little different --- but "Beulah Land" has been playing on a loop in my head since late Saturday, which I took this shot of Abulah Atkins' tombstone not far inside the main gate of the Chariton Cemetery.
We sometimes get after 21st century parents for plucking unusual names out of midair for their children --- but our ancestors tended to pluck them out of the Bible, although Abulah isn't exactly biblical. It may, however, be a variant of the "Beulah," found only once --- in Isaiah 62 --- but favored frequently by parents of earlier generations.
And it could have been worse --- "Hephzibah" appears right next to Beulah in Isaiah, and some parents opted to name their daughters that.
I noticed Abulah first while trying to help Steve Hanken figure out why her husband, Reed Atkins, has a Grand Army of the Republic flag holder next to his tombstone --- he is buried just south of Abulah and as you can see, both of the Atkins tombstones have run into a few difficulties.
Reed seems to have died before the Civil War began, so we're thinking now that he may have been a veteran of the War of 1812 who was honored for his service by the younger Civil War veterans who formed Chariton's Daniel Iseminger Post No. 18, Grand Army of the Republic, and organized the first Memorial Day programs at the Chariton Cemetery.
Abulah, born ca. 1811-13 in Kentucky, was among the younger children by multiple wives of Gavin Adams, who settled down finally in Jackson County, Indiana. When she was in her 30s, on Aug. 12, 1845, she became the bride of Reed, a widower some 20 years her senior, in Jackson County.
Reed was a South Carolina native who moved west with his family into Alabama, then after his first marriage up through Tennessee and Kentucky into southern Indiana's Jackson County. If he were a veteran of a War of 1812 militia unit, it seems most likely that he served from Alabama as his brother, Thomas, did.
After their marriage, Reed and Abulah seem to have joined the westward migration of a substantial group of Jackson Countyans who eventually landed in Lucas County. The Threlkelds were among the chief suspects in this invasion of new territory and Abulah's moves seem to parallel those of her younger brother, Joel, who had married Eliza Threlkeld.
Warren County, Illinois, was the first stop after leaving Indiana --- then on westward to Lucas County commencing about 1855. Reed and Abulah were living in Appanoose County when the 1856 federal census was taken, but by 1860 had joined their relatives in Lucas County.
The Find A Grave entry for Reed states that he was born during 1790 and died in 1860; and, for Abulah, that she was born in 1813 and died on May 9, 1879. The dates for Reed may or may not be accurate --- the inscription on his tombstone has long since disappeared below ground and was not visible when inscriptions were copied for the 1981 Lucas County cemetery book --- nor are there extant WPA records for the Chariton Cemetery. More of Abulah's inscrption apparently was visible 40 years ago, however.
Buried here with Abulah and Reed are Abulah's sister-in-law, Sarah C. (Jones) Adams, who died on Aug. 26, 1878, age 76. Sarah's husband, William Adams, reportedly died during 1862 in Oldham County, Kentucky, and Sarah apparently joined other family members, first perhaps in Indiana and then immediately after the Civil War in Warren County, Illinois. By 1870, she was living adjacent to her son, Willis Adams, and his young family in Warren Township, Lucas County.
Just to Sarah's north is the grave of that son, Willis, a veteran of Company D, 53rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry, who died Nov. 6, 1870, age 29 leaving behind a widow, two young children --- and his mother.
And as you can see, Willis's tombstone has been partly consumed by a rather large tree.