North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

June 19, 2013

Revolutionary War soldier honored by Pinson Historical Society

By Morgan Turberville
North Jefferson News

PINSON — A recent project that was undertaken by the Sons of the American Revolution and the Pinson Historical Society has now led to the June 8 dedication that was 178 years in the making.

Lt. Edward Tatum, a veteran of the American Revolution, has a long, storied past that not many have known about until now. Born around 1745 in Virginia, Tatum took the oath of allegiance in 1777 before James Lyon and fought in many of the country’s battles during the Revolutionary War.

Battles such as the Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Eutaw Springs, and Yorktown are just a few examples of his participation in the service of his country. He later came to explore the Jefferson County area and died a resident of the county.

Steven Baird, a descendent of Tatum and a member of the Pinson Historical Society, has kept a detailed account of his predecessor. "He was an officer of the Revolution, a merchant, a planter, a public servent, and a respected citizen of four states," Baird says of Tatum.

It was partially through the association with Baird that the project of reconstructing Tatum's final resting place in the Baird/Tatum cemetery was started.

In previous years, storms knocked a tree onto the area where he was buried, destroying the stones used on his grave in the process. "Storm's brought down a tree right through the middle of Tatum's grave," Sue Churchwell, Vice President of the Pinson Historical Society, said.

Baird's connection with the site then gave the Society the perfect first project for the group to undertake. A revamp of the property was soon underway.

"One of our goals is to restore some of these historical cemeteries," Churchwell says. "Steven [Baird] has done a lot of research on this, and one of our projects with the Historical Society is to take on restoring some of these cemeteries in the Pinson area."

With the help of the Sons of the American Revolution, a lineage society who's members can trace their ancestry back to those who have served in the Revolutionary War,  and with "quite an undertaking" on the part of all involved, the site was almost fully restored. With the exception of the top stone of the gravesite, Tatum's final resting place is once more in it's original state.

"It's important to remember the history of our country," Bill Clements, President of the Birmingham SAR division, said. He cites this as one of the big reasons why the SAR has decided to get involved with this revitalization and dedication.

Now, almost 35 years after the Daughter of the American Revolution honored Tatum's service by placing a plaque on the grave, the Sons of the American Revolution are doing the same. Tatum and this small historical cemetery in the Pinson area are getting the credit that the Society believes they deserve.

The Pinson Historical Society meets on the first Tuesday night of every month at 6 p.m. at the Pinson Community Center.