near ctr Sec 18, 3S, 4W (reported)
350 yd E of C-375 (reported)
Freeman Ashmore (b.1908) believes that he has pretty well established the location of a graveyard that he knew well in his younger years, one just under a mile north of Mt. Elon Church and perhaps 350 yards east of Hwy. C-375. He says the place was the burying ground for the Buck Strickland family. Although there is no surface indication of a graveyard to be seen, he and the current property owner, Larry Bodiford, have planted a two-inch plastic pipe upright under thickly planted pines to mark what Mr. Ashmore believes to be the approximate northwest corner of the plot, which plot he recalls as being about 50 feet square. Mr. Bodiford's mobile home sits about halfway between this plot and the highway. That of his brother is still closer to the pipe marker, the house being some 60 yards northwest of the marker. The pipe stands six or seven yards south of a drive running from Larry Bodiford's house to a dog pen 150 yards east of the house.
The indicated site is very slightly east of the center of Sec. 18, T3S, R4W, north and west of Betsy Branch. The GPS fix of the position of the planted pipe is 30°13'10.22" -X- 84°40'12.95".
Mr. Ashmore has prepared a sketch relating the graveyard to these houses and other modern features mentioned, to the long-vacant sites of the old Methodist Church and the Buck Strickland home, and to the abandoned route of an old road. He lists on the sketch the names of seven people he knows to be interred in the graveyard: Buck Strickland's children Ola, Carrie, Obey, Leaston, Lillie Bell, and Clara, and in addition "Uncle Bill" Baker.
Something of the experience of the William M. "Buck" and Idella Stanland Strickland family in the Smith Creek community in the 1890's is related in The Magnolia Monthly issue of January 1969. A surviving daughter tells the magazine's editor that seven of the siblings died as children, two of them on the same day, and that Buck Strickland believed that the place was somehow a cause and removed the family elsewhere in the County. The survivor doesn't mention a burying ground. (She gives Lila Dell for one of her baby sisters who died - evidently the one whom Mr. Ashmore gives as Lillie Bell.) If it was seven siblings who died in childhood at the Smith Creek place, the total of burials reported so far at this site, with that of Bill Baker, would come to eight.
Mr. Ashmore was at the graveyard many times in decades long past; he often hunted close by when wooden grave markers still stood there and perhaps some signs or remains of the old Methodist Church and the Strickland home could still be seen. However, the territory today is covered by a row-crop of pines 15-20 years old, and there may be no signs of any features from the past to serve as locating references. Mr. Ashmore may be taking a medium-size, dying laurel oak in the edge of Mr. Bodiford's clearing as a landmark.