Family Buring Grounds in Wise County Virginia
The Brownlow Powers Graveyard
by James Taylor Adams, 1936, {part of a WPA project}

The Brownlow Powers Graveyard is on Indian Creek, two miles south of The Pound, and about two hundred yards up a ridge, west of Hillman Schoolhouse.

On Tuesday morning, September 1, 1936 I clomb the ridge and reached the burying ground at twenty minutes after nine. There was one large rough headstone with a crudely carved inscription. I sat down on it to rest. I looked about me and counted fifteen unmarked graves, shaded by one of the largest oaks I ever saw. The graves, most of them long one, are scattered about over about a quarter of an acre of ground. The place is unfenced and abandoned. The neighborhood cows walk and lie unhindered upon the graves.

When I had rested and colled myslef in the shade of the friendly spreading oak, I got to my feet and, standing in front of the rough headstone on which I had been sitting, I copied the following

J B Powers
was born April the 5th, 1858
Died Oct the (th, 1884
age 25 years 6 mo & 4 dys

Jeremiah Brownlow Powers was a son of William Alexander (Alex) and Susannah (Powers) Powers. He was called Brownlow Powers. He married Martha Jane, daughter of Dr. John A and Sarah (Franklin) Hall, and lived on Indian Creek. His brother, Scott Powers, told me that he was the second man to die with the flux in Wise County during the terrible epidemic of 1884. The first to die, according to Scott, was Charlie Parsons, son of Alvin Parson, in the Hurricane. Scott says that Brownlow waited on Charlie Parsons and took the flux from him and died in about a month. I might say here that Commissioner's returns do not agree with Scott Powers' statement that Charlie Parsons was the first person to die with flux in Wise County in 1884, ot that Brownlow Powers was the second victim of the epidemic of that year. A poplar tree thrity inches through is growing out of Brownlow Powers' grave. His wife, Martha Jane (Hall) Powers, married as her second husband, Son Hillman. I believe she is still living in the state of Washington.

I stopped for dinner that day with William Andrew Moore on Bold Camp, and he told me that Drury (Drew) Gilliam and his wife are buried there. He said he helped to bury Drew's wife.

Drew Gilliam was a son of Ira and Nancy (Skeen) Gilliam. He married Esther, daughter of Charles and Elizabeth (Kilgore) Addington, and lived most of his life on Gilliam Branch, a small tributary stream of Indian Creek.

I have heard many people call that, not so old, but sadly neglected, burying ground the Gilliam graveyard, and I have been told that most of the graves there are the graves of Gilliam and Gilliam kin. Nobody seems to know who was the first person to be buried there. It may have been Brownlow Powers.

submitted by Nancy Clark Brown 

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