Shorter Cemetery: Struggling Against Decay.
On of Alabama's 2010 Places in Peril --- Decaying brick work, damaged fences and encroaching kudzu are clear signs that Shorter Cemetery is slowly losing its battle with the elements. --- On the western bank of Lake Eufaula nestles one of the South's most important and least-known historical sites. Here, under live oak trees festooned with Spanish moss, struggling against neglect and decay, is the final resting place of John Gill Shorter, Alabama's Civil War Governor, and his close kin, including the famous Indian fighter, his father, General Reuben Shorter. Built near the family home of Reuben Shorter, the first burial was of Emily Frances Shorter Kolb, wife of David Cameron Kolb and the daughter of Reuben C. and Mary B. Shorter, in 1839. The cemetery consists of four major plots containing twenty-six inscribed graves and a number of graves with no inscriptions. In addition, there is a single outlying grave marked by a large statue of an angel, marking the resting place of Daniel Morgan Seals, a devoted friend of Gov. Shorter, who, at his request, was buried in sight of his fellow legislator so that their friendship could persist beyond death. The cemetery for the Shorter family slaves is a rarity, in that, it is surrounded by a handsome, low brick wall, a testimonial to the high regard the Shorter's held for their loyal family retainers. An elaborate wrought-iron fence, a gift from the City of New Orleans, to mark Governor Shorter's death and to acknowledge his role in Southern history, surrounds the Governor's plot. His monument is the tallest and most majestic on in the cemetery, befitting his life of achievement. The land, which holds all of these remarkable monuments, is deeded to itself in perpetuity and is a sad but proud remnant of the original Shorter plantation. The family's plantation home once dominated more than a hundred acres on this side of the river. The house burned and was later relocated because of the yellow fever epidemic; but the cemetery remained on the old property. The Barbour County Governors Trail has placed a granite marker at the cemetery. This marker is inscribed: - Barbour County Governors Trail - "John Gill Shorter, Governor of Alabama. December 2, 1861-December 1, 1863. Shorter cemetery is the final resting place of John Gill shorter who was Alabama's first Civil War Governor. He was born in Monticello, Georgia on Apr. 23, 1818 and moved to Eufaula, Alabama in 1833. Shorter graduated from the University of Georgia in 1837 and was admitted to the bar in 1838. In 1861 he was appointed a commissioner from Alabama to the Georgia Secession Convention and also served as a member of the Provisional Confederate Congress. As a member of the Provisional Confederate Congress, Shorter was elected Alabama's 17th Governor in 1861. During his term, Shorter was concerned about issues relating to the Civil War, including the fortification of Mobile, raising arms and troops, slave impressments, military training, desertion, food supplies and funding the war. He died in Eufaula on May 29, 1872."Those that rest at these sacred grounds include ancestors of the Battle, Cowles, Hammond, Kolb, Lomax, McKelroy, Seals, Shorter, Thornton, and Willingham families. The upkeep and care of this historical and beautiful spot is under the direction of the Shorter Cemetery Fund. There are no direct descendants of Governor Shorter, and all assistance must come from friends and relatives. Any donation to the cemetery is welcome.