More history of the Arline Cemetery

Published 2:56 pm Friday, March 25, 2011

In the March 9th edition of The Post-Searchlight, I read with great interest Jean Ouzts’ article regarding the Arline Family Cemetery.


Because my mother was an Arline and grew up on the Arline land at the Arline Family Cemetery. We referred to it as “the old place.”

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My name is Charles Valentine and I was born, grew up and attended the public schools in Bainbridge. I graduated in the Class of 1946! Just celebrated my 82nd birthday. Some of my classmates were Gloria and Harold Coppinger, Bruce Kirbo, James Sharber, Barbara Tennile, Al Shealy, Sara Willis (Parker), etc.

For some time now, the Arline Family Cemetery is one of four family lots in and around Bainbridge where I have family buried, and I’m pretty much the last remaining person in the family to look after three of them. That is, unless some of my children and their families take care of them. None of us live there.

In May 2007 my son and I spent a day clearing the land of a very heavy growth of head-high weeds, removing many vines from the fence, removing several large limbs that had fallen from a dead tree (outside the cemetery) and damaged the rear fence and raked “a ton” of leaves and debris.

A scout, working for his merit badge, and a couple of his fellow scouts did an outstanding job in cleaning the lot. This was in 2008 or 2009. We found out about this when we went there to clean it up.

In November 2010, my daughter, her husband and their eight kids, my wife and I did another big clean up. Mowed, string trimmed, raked, removed vines from the fence, etc. We try to go back up there at least once a year and do what we can.

Rackley’s maternal grandparents (Suttons) are buried in the cemetery, and Dale has also worked in keeping it from becoming a wilderness.

My great-grandfather, Jesse Arline, set aside land for the cemetery. He had five sons that served in the Confederate Army. The sad fact that many of the Arline family are buried there, their graves were unmarked and have long, long ago been lost to time. I do not know of anyone living that can accurately name all those buried there. Jesse and his wife, Elizabeth Kitchings, two of his daughters, Jennie Arline Sapp, Margaret C. Arline, etc., are just a few of them, There are slaves of Jesse that are reportedly buried not too far behind the cemetery, but no one knows for sure where.

I had never heard of the “ghost” that you wrote about. I broke out in laughter, reading your story and imagining the situations as you described them. The cemetery is at the end of the road and the road does have deep ditches and red clay to become slippery when wet.

My parents, my only brother and my two sisters are buried in the Oak City Cemetery. I’m the last of the James M. and Minnie Dean Arline Valentine family.

My great-grandparents, Jesse and Corn Cowart Valentine, are buried in the Bethel Church Cemetery. We have gone there each time we go. We’ve patched broken slabs, edged them, scrubbed the headstones, etc. The church keeps the grounds looking nice. No shrubbery.

My grandparent’s Arline, Thomas Coke and Mary Francis “Mollie” Glass Arline are buried in the old city cemetery in Cairo. Cairo does an excellent job of maintaining the family lots. We have never had to do much there.

I subscribe to the Bainbridge paper and enjoy reading your column as well as several of the editorial (Opinions) writers’ works. The Post-Searchlight puts out a good, hometown paper. I look forward to receiving mine.

Keep up your interesting and informative articles. Sorry that I rambled on so …. one thing led to another …. my kids remind me of this …. often.


Charles Valentine

Jacksonville, Fla.