Grant to help Brindley Cemetery restoration effort

The Cullman Historical Society received a grant to help restore the Brindley cemetery. From left, Senator Garland Gudger, Cullman County Museum researcher Julie Burks, Cullman County Museum Director Drew Green, Benton Buchmann, Ray Buchmann, Rep. Randall Shedd, Historic Society President Dr. Bill Peinhardt, Nancy Brindley Bhagia, Carole Brindley King and Dean King.

The Cullman Historic Society received a $10,250 grant from the State Historical Society to aid in the restoration and upkeep of Brindley Cemetery in the Simcoe area, but they will be seeking additional funds from the state to complete the restoration work.

The cemetery, located on County Road 747 about a mile north of Highway 69, has historic ties to Cullman County and to the state of Alabama. Sixteen people, including family founders Mace Thomas Payne Brindley and his wife Nancy Hanby Brindley, are buried in the historic cemetery. Nancy Brindley was the daughter of Gabriel Hanby, one of the original framers of the Alabama Constitution. The earliest grave on the site is that of their fourth child, John Hanby Brindley, who died in 1853 at age 15.

Mace Brindley was the first to settle the Simcoe area in 1832. He served as Blount County Clerk for 12 years, two years as a state representative and nine years as a state senator. In addition, he was the director of the State National Bank in Decatur.

“He had a real large footprint in this area,” said Julie Burks, Cullman County Museum Event Coordinator and researcher. “He owned land in the town of Blountsville when he was a very young man.” He died the year before John Cullman arrived in the area.

Brindley family descendent Ray Buchmann said the restoration effort is going to require additional funding. “We’ve learned if you want $20,000, ask for $40,000,” he said. “We thought we needed $20,000 at the time, and we got $10,250.” Buchmann said recent estimates to restore the cemetery indicate another $20,000 will be needed.

Burks said the grant will be used to repair the rock wall that goes around the cemetery. “Part of that rock wall actually holds a couple of the graves,” she said. “If rocks to continue to deteriorate, then one good rainy season the two people on the end, their gravesite will be destroyed.”

State Representative Randall Shedd said, “Senator [Garland] Gudger and I will be looking in every cupboard in Montgomery and Cullman to find a little more money. It’s definitely a historical site.”

“This is a first Alabama family and we’ve invested time and energy in protecting that cemetery and we just need to do what’s diligent so that it’s available to other people to learn part of that history,” said Burks.

“We’ll do everything we can,” agreed Gudger. “This should be a state-recognizable site. It’s significant for everyone in the state if they helped shape the constitution. It’s not just this region, but it’s statewide.”

Amy Henderson can be reached at 256-734-2131 Ext. 116.

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