China Grove to hold ‘Homecoming’ Sunday at 11 a.m.

Published 3:00 am Friday, August 18, 2017

Holding to tradition, the Concord/China Grove ‘Homecoming’ will be held under the old oak trees at historic Concord Primitive Baptist Church in China Grove at 11 a.m. Sunday. All of those with ties to or an interest in the Concord Primitive Baptist Church or the Concord/China Grove Cemetery are invited and encouraged to come.

“We’ll have dinner on the ground and a short meeting to discuss cemetery business,” said Marsha Boutwell, an organizer of the annual homecoming. “But mainly, we’ll sit and talk about the history of the area and our heritage there.”

Boutwell said an act that was approved December 13, 1821, established the house of Andrew Townsend, near the site of the present China Grove, as the temporary site of the Seat of Justice in Pike County.

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“So, there’s a lot of history in the China Grove area,” Boutwell said. “The Concord Primitive Baptist Church was sealed in 1900 so it was probably built around 1880 or so. There’s just a special feeling in that church. You can almost feel the spirit of those who started the church and worshiped there all those many years ago.”

Steve Flowers of Troy has family members buried at Concord/China Grove Cemetery and also has a historical interest in the cemetery.

“As a little boy, I went to ‘dinner on the ground’ at the church at China Grove,” Flowers said. “I always enjoy going back but, with the passing years, the crowd is smaller but the interest in the church cemetery and the church and the commitment to keep it up has not diminished.”

Three generations of Flowers’ family are buried in the historic cemetery.

“Three ‘grands’ and they are there side by side,” Flowers said. “They are members of the Grant family, of my mother’s family — Wilson Grant who was born in 1837, John Oliver Grant, who fought in the Civil War, and Alonza Agustus ‘A.A.’ Grant.”

Flowers said his ancestors, like those of many Pike Countians, are of Scotch Irish decent.

“The Grants came to Alabama from the Carolinas prior to the Civil War,” he said.

“There were four Grant brothers. Wilson Grant settled in Pike County in the China Grove area. The other brothers settled in Louisville, northern Coffee County and south Montgomery County. They were all nestled in the China Grove area. You could almost throw a stone from Pike County and hit Montgomery and Bullock counties.”

Flowers, like many whose “generations” are buried at Concord/China Grove Cemetery, is committed to the upkeep of the historic cemetery.

“Those of us who have ancestors buried there have a special connection to the cemetery,” he said. “But even for those who don’t, it’s a part of our history and a connection to the past.”

Anyone who has an interest in the historic Concord Primitive Baptist Church or the Concord/China Grove Cemetery is invite to homecoming from 11 a.m. until on Sunday.

“Just bring a covered dish and stories to share there under the old oak trees,” Boutwell said. “The food will be good and so will the conversation as we gather for a good cause.”