Contributed by Dianne Wood ©2002
Newnan Herald & Advertiser Friday April 2, 1909
Movement to have remains of Old Soldiers Buried Coweta Disinterred and brought to Newnan---Monument to be erected.
A few months ago, The Herald & Advertiser received the following communication from Hon. Lavender R Ray of Atlanta: "I not that there is a movement on foot to mark the graves of the Revolutionary Soldiers buried in Georgia. This purpose of the Daughters of the American Revolution is commendable, and should have the support and encouragement of the people of each county. The debt of gratitude we owe our soldiers of this war cannot be estimated. To them this great republic, with its 84,000,000 of inhabitants, owes its existence. Here are the names of some of the Revolutionary Soldiers who lived in Coweta in their old age: Allen Gay, William Smith, John Neely, James Aken, William Bunster & Randall Robinson. There are people now living who remember these men, and who may be able to point out their last resting place. Every patriot's grave should be located and marked with a stone showing that he was a soldier of the Revolution."
More than a year prior to the receipt of Col. Ray's communication, the same matter was brought to The Herald & Advertiser's attention by Judge W B W Dent, who insisted then that some steps should be take to preserve the remains of the old Revolutionary Soldiers buried in Coweta County, and to mark their places of sepulture with suitable tablets or monuments. In the course of conversation, he referred to the shamefully neglected condition of the last resting-place of William Smith, one of the soldiers spoken of in Col. Ray's letter. William Smith, (better known as "Helination" Smith) died in the western part of the county in 1852, and his body was laid to rest in what was then a family burying ground, located in Panther Creek district, not too far from the river. There were other graves on the lot, some of them with neat picket enclosures such as are frequently seen in country churchyards, but in after years the small clum of woods in which the burying-ground was situated was swept with fire.
Afterwards the few trees remaining on the lot were cleared away and the land was put in cultivation. The land upon which the graves were located finally passed into the hands of Mr. Henry Dyer, and is still in his possession. So far as known, the only person now living who was present at the burial of "Hellination" Smith, is Mr. Rueben Carter, and he is the only person who would likely be able to locate the grave. He resides now in Carroll County, but was in Newnan some time ago, and related to Judge Dent some of the incidents that occurred at Smith's burial. While this venerable citizen is yet in life and can assist in locating Smith's grave, Judge Dent urges that steps be taken to have the remains disinterred, brought to Newnan, and reinterred in the Soldiers Cemetery. The expense would be trifling, and to rescue the bones of the old patriot from oblivion and given a fitting sepulture along with the threescore and more Confederate heroes who sleep in our Soldiers' Cemetery, is a duty that should not be longed.
In this connection, it will be of interest to note that Sarah Dickerson Chapter, DAR, has been for some time considering plans for having the remains of old Revolutionary Soldiers buried at different points in the county disinterred and reinterring them in one lot in Oak Hill Cemetery, the lot to be purchased and kept up by the Chapter.
It is also proposed to erect a monument on the lot, upon which shall be inscribed the names of the old heroes, their terms of service, ages, and date of death. The War Department will furnish separate tablets for each grave, appropriately inscribed, without cost to the Chapter.
The only Revolutionary Soldier buried in Newnan is Randall Robinson, grandfather of Mr. John E Robinson, Miss Emmie Robinson and Mrs. A B Cates. He was born in Granville County NC, May 1, 1762. Moved to Edgefield County SC afterwards to Putnam County GA, then to butts County, and came to Coweta in 1827. In 1828, he aided in constituting the First Baptist Church organized in Newnan, and died here Feb 2, 1842. While a resident of SC, he served in the Revolutionary War as a member of Col. Water's Regiment.
Through the courtesy of Congressman Adamson we have obtained from the Pension Office at Washington brief sketches of the other Revolutionary Soldiers whose names are given in this article , as well as a record of their service, to wit:
Allen Gay was born in Northampton County NC, in 1765, and while living in Franklin Co NC, enlisted June 6, 1781, and served nine months as private in Capt. Raiford's Company, Col. Dickson's First Regiment North Carolina Militia. Was in the battle of Eutaw Springs. He was allowed a pension on an application executed Sept 3, 1832, while residing in Coweta Co GA, where he died June 18, 1847. He was married to Ann Benton in Henry Co GA on Oct 10, 1824, and upon his death his widow was allowed a pension in 1853, while residing in Newnan being 76 years of age.
Jas Akens was born in 1762 or 63, on the line between Maryland an Pennsylvania, and while living in Mecklenburg Co NC, he enlisted October 1778, and served six months as a private in Capt. Brownfield's Company, Col. Lock's Regiment. He afterwards served six weeks under Capt. Hugh Parks, six weeks under Capt. Chas Polk, and three months in 1782 under Capt. Brownfield. He was granted a pension on Sept 5, 1832, while residing in Coweta Co GA, where he died April 12, 1843. He was married in Green Co GA, on March 16, 1791 to Frances ___ and upon his death his widow was granted a pension on Aug 6, 1844, she being then 80 years of age.
John Neely was born in Ireland in 1756. Emigrated to America and while living in Waxhaw settlement SC enlisted March 1776, and served sixteen months as a private in Capt. Eli Kershaw's Company, Col. William Thompson's Third South Carolina Regiment, and was in the battle of Sullivan's Island. Afterwards entered the service in Georgia for ten months under Capt. Pettigrew, Col. Jack's Regiment. Returned to SC and was called out several times in skirmishing parties. Also served two years under Col. Fredrick Kimbold and Gen. Sumpter in the State Troops, and was severely wounded in an engagement with Tories near Camden SC. He was granted a pension Sept 18, 1832, while residing in Coweta Co GA. The records do not show the date of his death, nor the name of his wife.
William Smith was born in Nansemond Co VA, in 1751, and during the Revolutionary period resided in Cumberland and Moore Co NC. Entered the service in 1778, and served eighteen months under Capt. Hadley and Capt. Alston. Re-enlisted in August 1780, and served six months under Capt. King and Capt. Love. Also served three months under Capt. Adkins, Col. Hadley's Regiment, and in the battle at Long Crossway, NC was wounded in the hip. Also served six months under Capt. Folsom, Col. Philip Alston's Regiment, and in an engagement with the Tories at Col. Alston's home was wounded in the face. He was granted a pension Dec 3, 1832, while residing in Coweta Co GA, and died May 8, 1852. On March 26, 1835, he was married to Meridy Gamage, she being his second wife. His widow was granted a pension March 14, 1853, being then 48 years of age. She died in Coweta Co Jan 6, 1894 being one of the nine Revolutionary widows then surviving in the United States.
The records of the Pension Office do not show that William Bunster was ever on the pension roll, or that he made application for pension. Consequently no record of his service as a soldier in the Revolutionary War is obtainable. He is supposed to be buried in Campbell County, not far from the Coweta line.