John Gambril Cemetery

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John Gambril Cemetery Smyrna Quadrangle.

Photographed by Jeff and Teresa Elliott October 2015

This cemetery was very difficult to find.  We stopped at many houses, but they kept sending us to other easier to find cemeteries in the area. To find this cemetery, you need a GPS enabled device and this GPS coordinate for the cemetery: 35 55’53.55″N 86 36’20.14″W

There are many ways to get to this cemetery, but we followed Rocky Fork Road to Caitlin Trail.  At the very end of Caitlin Trail is a trail that goes off into the road, shown here:


Follow this trail until it runs out in the middle of the wooded area. Here is where you will need your GPS.  Luckily cell coverage in this area is extremely good and you should be able to follow your GPS through the woods fairly easily. We visited in Mid October and you can see the forest wasn’t over grown.  Summer time might be harder. There were lots of rose bushes scattered in this area, so at one time, it  may have been cleared off.


Once you come out of the woods, you will be on the TVA  easement for gas pipe line.  You will follow this TVA pipe line across the field shown, around a corn patch (at least we did) and up that HUGE hill. Cemetery is almost to the top of the hill on right just inside wood line.  We saw several signs that hunters use this area, so dress brightly and be very careful!


Cemetery as it looked in October 2015.



View from cemetery looking back at corn field.




This is John’s tombstone. We moved it into the light and took a picture enumerated below. This is where we found the original, leaning against this tree.  You can see that the stone has broken off it’s base.  My guess is the base was about where this tree now stands, based on his foot stone.


Hannah (Rainey)

second wife of Jno. Gambill



(Author’s note:  John married Hannah Rainey on 10 Apr 1834 in Rutherford County, TN.  They were married by Jacob Payne, J. P.)



J. K. Bennett
consort of J. M. Bennett (could be T. M.)

(Author’s note:  I have no idea who J. K. Bennett was. As far as I know, she was not a family member.  Thomas Bennett owned the Blacksmith Shop next door to the Gambills and this may be part of his family.)


Amazing view from the cemetery looking out over the valley surrounding the knob.


John Gambril  (Author’s note: Son of Bradley and Susannah Gambill)

22 Dec 1774 (some records have 1771, but I believe the last number is a 4 based on military records and the spacing between the 7 and 4.  It appeared to be a 4 on the stone as well.)

11 Jun 1843


Sarah Gambill  (Author’s note:  This is Sarah Kimbro (Kimbrough), daughter of William Kimbrough and Elizabeth Gooch)  She and John are my 4th great grandparents.

29 Mar 1777

24 Jun 1832

Sarah and John Gambill were married 01 Nov 1798 in Davidson County, TN.

IMG_3015  IMG_3017 

There may be other burials in this cemetery. These were the only actual stones we saw while we were there. This cemetery was not enumerated when the 1970 cemetery books were done.  My guess is it was lost to time until TVA cleaned off for their easement.


Another amazing view from the cemetery looking out over the valley below.  It is likely that the Gambill house was very near this location as it looked out over the entire valley below.




We found this field stone and a matching foot stone in the cemetery. Since we know John Gambill bought part of his father’s farm before Bradley’s death, we wondered if perhaps this stone marked the grave of Bradley or Susannah Gambill, John’s parents.



Matching footstone to head stone above.

IMG_3027 IMG_3028 IMG_3029


This is me standing about halfway down the hill to give perspective of just how far a hike it is up to the cemetery.

    IMG_3035 IMG_3036

Cleared off area just up the hill from the cemetery that may have been the original home site. 



We had to wonder if these large stones were part of the original home site, or just naturally occurring.  If the original home sat here, it had a 360 degree view of the valley below and John and/or Bradley could have viewed their entire plantation from the front porch of the home.  If I owned the land, it’s where I would want my house to be, that’s for sure! 



The following is a transcription of John Gambill’s will written in Rutherford County, TN:

I, John Gambill do make and publish this as my last will and testament hereby revoking and making void all other wills by me at anytime made.
First I direct that my debts be paid as soon after my death as possible and the very few out of any money that I may die possessed of or that may come into the hands of Executors.
Second, I loan to my wife Hanna one hundred acres of land Beginning at my southeast corner near Thos. Bennett, Black Smith shop thence west for enough to include the fields on each side of my land and 20 poles farther thence north sufficiently far to include my cotton field even if said bounds should contain more than 100 acres thence east to my eastern Boundary thence south to the beginning with the privilege of getting timber south of said land if then (with all the building and my mill contional 
[sic] is not sufficient on it this lane to be void so soon as my wife Hannah marries or dies or \[can’t read\] that in as much as I paid for her two hundred and nine dollars after our marriage that she shall refund or pay said money to my estate at her death and the acceptance of this will shall guarantee the payment of said money also I loan to her one horse wither Charlie or Kit two cows and calves two sows and pigs 5 ewes two set of cups and saucers two set of plates a set of knives and forks and 3 dishes a half dozen chairs a table one pot one skillet one ven and 2 pair of hooks.  Also I confirm our marriage contract that is to say she shall have to dispose of as she pleases at her death one negro man named Ted and one named Davy one negro woman named Fanny and her children Booker and Alfred and increase, one cupboard two beds and bedsteads and all the bed cloths she bought here one chest and two trunks one hundred dollars in money and her full years provisions for the next year but there is to be interruption of the making or saving the crop the years provisions to consist of one hundred Barrels of corn fifteen hundred pounds of Pork 20 bushels of wheat 50 # of coffee 100 # sugar and a barrel of salt.
Third, I give and bequeath to each of my children in the manner following or their heirs one equal share or portion of my estate of the heirs of Charlott Hall, Elizabeth Lovel, John K. Gambill, Kiziah Brown, William Gambill, Frances Dyer, Martha Hatfield, James T.  Gambill heirs of May Rogers, John Pope, George W. Gambill
Fourthly, I give and bequeath to Elizabeth Lovel and her heirs the tract of land on which she now lives believing that it will only make her equal to the rest of my children in a division already made not to be taken into the division of this will with all the property of mine on said premises and I appoint my son William her trustee to take charge of said property and also her portion as legatee to manage for her benefit and at her death descend to her children.
Fifthly, I give and bequeath to my grand son Thomas Rogers son of Mary Rogers decd. five hundred dollars in the the Nolensville turnpike stoke in lew
{sic] of any part of my land the balance of one share to the made out in money and in case of his death without heirs the property or bequeath to return to my estate and I authorize my Executors to act as Guardians for him his share in not to extend to division already made.
Sixthly, all that part of my estate devised to Martha Hatfield and James T. Gambill shall go into the hand of Wilie Brown who I appoint their trustee to manage and control for their benefit and at their death to descend to their heirs.
Seventh, I appoint John Hall trustee for my daughter Jane Pope with the power of managing and controlling said property for her benefit and at her death said property to go her children.
Eighth, wither of my children that is dissatisfied with their trustees may change said trustee by confirming to law or applying to court and if the same drawn does not suit the situation of the the legatees the trustee by the consent and joint conveyance of the legatee may change or sell said share but nothing in this contained shall excuse said trustees from giving bound as provided by law;
Ninth my land at home shall be equally divided among all my legatees except T. Rogers; according to quality and quantity the school tract of land by R. Halls and the Puckett tract together may be divided into shares to suit the number of my legatees also excerpt T.  Rogers.  In the
[illegible] on that is to be made among my children notes and amounts which I have against them are to be taken into the amount and I nominate and appoint  D. R. Gooch George \[illegible\]  William Allen Jas S. Smith and Robert Cook to make the division of the land.
Tenth for the purpose of making an equal division amount my legatees I direct my slaves to be sold to the highest bidder with all other property of mine which I have not heretofore disposed of on a credit of twelve months.
Eleventh all the perishable property I have loaned to my wife shall be valued to her and paid back to my estate at her death Lastly I do hereby  nominate and appoint my son William H. B. Gambill David R. Gooch and James S. Smith my Executors in witness whereof I do to this my will set my hand and seal this 16 May 1845 My Executors are not to be ruled to security.
[his X mark]Gambill
May 19th 1843


One thought on “John Gambril Cemetery

    Elena Hande-Featherstone said:
    2 January 2016 at 1:44 pm

    Hi! I’ve enjoyed your posts. We’re on the Gambill hunt today. Any luck in finding John’s father’s burial place?

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