Don’t Allow Any Republicans to Be Buried in My Burying Ground
The two oldest cemeteries in Cashiers are called the Lower Zachary Cemetery and the Upper Zachary Cemetery. They are located on the same road, not very far apart. The oldest cemetery is the Lower Zachary Cemetery, with the first burial dating to the 1860s. Keven Hawkins reported that the Upper Zachary Cemetery was originally called the Hawkins Cemetery, but at some unknown point in time started being referred to as the Upper Zachary Cemetery. Why, people often ask, are there two Zachary cemeteries? Answers to that question vary between “It was about politics,” or “It was because of the Civil War.” No further explanation is ever offered. Several pieces of evidence, located at different times, can now be put together to come up with a reasonable answer:
- Several weeks ago, when I was going through my many folders of bits of collected Cashiers history, I happened upon a folder labeled “Cashiers Cemeteries.” I opened it and found a handwritten note from the late Ruth Lombard Oliver that provided pertinent information about the cemeteries. For many years, Ruth Lombard Oliver studied Zachary family history, and when I was bitten by the family history bug, she had shared the old Zachary stories with me. Her enclosed note seemed significant: “Andy (Andrew) Zachary was a Republican, and when his wife, Sara Isabella Wilson Zachary, died a year after Col. John A. Zachary’s death in 1872, she was not allowed burial in the Lower Zachary Cemetery [in accordance with] Col. John A. Zachary’s pre-death command.” The anger over divided family loyalties during the Civil War reached out from beyond the grave and punished the descendants.
- In 1917, at the 9th Zachary Reunion held at the Cashiers Lower Zachary Cemetery, the speaker was a grandson of Col. John A Zachary. As he related some early Zachary tales he said, “Of the six sons [of Col. John A. Zachary] living after the Civil War, there were three [who were] Republicans: Uncle Alfred, Uncle Andy, and Uncle [name not heard/legible].” It was true; there are so many documented examples of Andy’s support of the Union forces. Therefore, one might assume that there are two cemeteries because there were people who believed in one political ideology who did not want to have the peace of their final resting places disturbed by the presence of those who held with an opposing ideology. So, according to these sources, two cemeteries exist because of the opposing political views present in the community and the division caused by the Civil war. It is not an exaggeration to say that the Civil War divided families as well as the nation…and its cemeteries.