Saturday, July 16, 2016

Prattville's Doster Cemetery


It sits by itself in the middle of a farm field in Autauga County, Alabama, about 100 yards north of the US Highway 82 Bypass in Prattville. Actually it sits in what was once the community of Dosterville. “It” is the Doster Family Cemetery. Motorists whizzing by on the busy bypass rarely seem to notice the tall cemetery markers barely visible over tall weeds.

Until June 30, 2016, the Doster Family Cemetery had lain for several years overgrown and forlorn, abandoned by even those local residents alive today who are descendants of those buried there. At one time these were important people. They were important in the founding and growth of Prattville and Autauga County. War heroes. A legislator. Children, too many children.

These people are no longer lying in a forgotten, neglected, abandoned place. The men of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1524--the Prattville Dragoons--are seeing to that. One of the many public service projects they work on every year is the maintenance of neglected cemeteries where Confederate Veterans are buried. The effort at the Doster Family Cemetery was led by Camp Quartermaster Bill Myrick. The initial attack was with weed eaters, herbicide and a lawnmower. The cemetery is once again presentable and will honor those interred there. It will improve as the Dragoons continue to care for the cemetery.

One of the notables buried there is Absalom Doster, born in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in 1796. He was married to Sarah E. Alexander Doster and they had two children, Charles Smith Graves Doster and Alexandria Victoria Doster. Absalom Doster was a farmer (one could, based on his sizeable land holdings, call him a planter). He was a Mason and served in the Alabama Legislature.  He also served his country during the War of 1812. He was a private in the Rosser County, Georgia, militia.

Charles Smith Graves Doster, who is buried nearby, served in the Prattville Grays during the War for Southern Independence. He was promoted to major on November 24, 1863. After the war he was given the honorific title of “Colonel,” a title used by most lawyers of the period. He was, after the war, the law partner of Zachariah Abney who also had served in the Bibb Grays, achieving the rank of Captain. Abney was a member of Forney’s Alabama Brigade and was present when General Robert E. Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia. After the war he returned to the law practice he had begun in 1859.

Zachariah Abney was married to a member of the Doster family, Alexandria Victoria Doster. She was his law partner’s sister. In addition to his practice of law Abney served as Register in Chancery. He was appointed to that position in 1883 and served until his death in 1911. He is buried in the Doster Family Cemetery.

It's a shame that this cemetery, as other important ones in this county and many others, has been allowed to get into the state it was in until the Dragoons arrived.  The Dragoons will do their best to see that its condition is improved.

Jack Moore and Tryone Crowley

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