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Two brothers, John O. Freeman (1796-1844)  and Charles Allen Freeman (1797-1866), came to West Tennessee from North Carolina sometime between 1840 and 1850, according to census records. Their parents, John Freeman (1767-1821) and Betsy Ann Mitchell Freeman (1767-1805) had died in North Carolina. In addition, John O. Freeman's wife, Massey Hooker Freeman (1788-1840), is buried in Granville County, North Carolina. Records show that John O. Freeman died in Weakley County, but his place of burial is unknown. Charles Allen Freeman and his wife, Rutha Ann Hooker Freeman (1796-1873), who came with him from North Carolina, are both buried in Ralston Cemetery in Weakley County.

When John O. Freeman came to Tennessee, his two sons accompanied him and built their lives in Weakley County. See more about them below.

Charles Allen and Rutha Hooker Freeman had five daughters and three sons, one of whom became an important figure in Weakley County. Davis Allen Freeman became a minister and founded Freeman's Chapel Methodist Church, about seven miles from Freeman Cemetery. Three of his infant children are buried in Freeman Cemetery.

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The two sons of John O. and Massey Freeman, WILLIS A. FREEMAN and WILLIAM E. FREEMAN, came to Weakley County in young adulthood. The families of both Willis and William played a vital role in Freeman Cemetery and the community.

WILLIS A. FREEMAN (1822-1862) married ELIZABETH E. HARPER FREEMAN CRUTCHFIELD (1825-1908), who was born in Weakley County. Elizabeth outlived Willis, and, though they are both buried in Freeman Cemetery, she is buried with the Crutchfield family. They were the parents of six children, three of whom are buried in Freeman Cemetery, and one of the others of whom played a major role in its development.

The first wife of WILLIAM E. FREEMAN (1832-1883), MARIA E. FREEMAN (1833-1855), is buried in Freeman Cemetery. He married Martha Hooper in 1864, and they were the parents of eight children, three of whom are buried in Freeman Cemetery. it is believed that William E. Freeman, Martha Hooper Freeman, and their young son John D. Freeman (1874-1883) perished in a fire. 

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Lost to the Ashes?

Tragedy struck the family of William E. and Martha Hooper Freeman when a fire destroyed their home around 1883. There is little information, and we have found no extant records of the event. However, it is known that all the children--except for John D. Freeman, were placed in the homes of various other family members after that time. It is believed that William, Martha, and young John perished in the fire.

To add to the mystery of the situation, William and Martha's son Charles, as an elderly man, asked his daughter to take him to Freeman Cemetery to visit his parents' and brother's graves. When they did so, they could not find any tombstones with their names on them. Thus, the question arose about whether or not there are unmarked graves in Freeman Cemetery and whether three of them belong to William, Martha, and John. If they are buried there, where in the cemetery are they?

In 2018, the ancestors of the Freeman family erected a monument in honor of these parents and their children, scattered by the family tragedy.

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To learn more about the families of Wills A. Freeman and William E. Freeman, click on the buttons below.

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