Funeral for Eliza Clemons

By Stephen D. Bowling

February 14, 1956 – A light rain fell on the Little Green Church on Quicksand Road as the mourners filed out the front doors of the church. Standing on the side of the roadway, they watched as the pallbearers, selected family members, carried the casket out and placed it in the back of the hearse. Rev. Beecher Barnett climbed into his vehicle, and the procession headed south on Quicksand Road.

Inside the casket were the remains of Eliza (Napier) Clemons, a small, thin little woman who was known for her stern looks and actions. The widow of Andrew Jackson Clemons, Jr. was buried in the Frazier and Taylor (also known as the Chapman) Cemetery beside her husband and other members of the family. She was 75.

Eliza (Napier) Clemons

Funeral Rites Held Tuesday For Woman, 75

Funeral services were conducted at the Pentecostal Church of God Tuesday, February 14 for Mrs. Eliza Clemons, who succumbed of a heart condition at the home of a daughter, Mrs. Hager Combs on February 12. Revs. F. M. Deaton and Beech Barnett conducted the services. Burial was in Chapman Cemetery under the direction of Begley & Eversole Funeral Home.

Mrs. Clemons was a daughter of Cager and Allie Jones Napier and was born on the South Fork of Quicksand March 4, 1880. Her husband, Jackie Clemons, preceded her in death, passing on December 28, 1939.

Mrs. Clemons was a member of the Pentecostal Church of God, having joined that denomination in 1926.  She had been ill for more than ten years.

Survivors include four sons: Dewey of Cincinnati, Floyd of Jackson, Goebel of Knox, Ind., and James of Dayton, Ohio; three daughters: Mrs. Joe Baker of Chavies, Mrs. Hager Combs and Mrs. Earl Robinson, both of Jackson.  Twenty-nine grandchildren and 31 great-grandchildren also survive.

The Jackson Times, February 16, 1956, page 1

Eliza Napier was the daughter of McCager and Allie (Jones) Napier and was the descendant of several of South Fork’s most prominent families. Her grandfather, Patrick Napier, tamed and farmed much of the Smith’s Branch area. Her maternal grandfather, Wiley C. Jones, a Confederate soldier, lived in the Brickey and Arkansas Branch areas. Both men were well respected in the community.

Eliza married Andrew Jackson “Little Jackie” Clemons, Jr. on April 10, 1897, at the home of Andres Jackson Clemons on South Fork. The couple produced nine children but raised ten because of an extra child “Little Jackie” produced with another woman.

Jackie died on December 30, 1939, and Eliza made her home with Hager and Dovie Clemons in Snake Valley until her death seventeen years later. The graves of Jackie and Eliza Clemons in the Frazier and Taylor Cemetery on Highway 30 East were never marked. They are known because their son, James Clemons, wanted to be buried between his parents when he died in 1971. Family legend holds that there was not enough room when grave diggers opened his grave. To fulfill his wishes, they placed his casket in the ground with one edge on the casket of his father and one edge on his mothers’.

A military tombstone marks the gravesite of James Clemons (1921 – 1971), son of Eliza (Napier) Clemons and Andrew Jackson Clemons, Jr.

© 2023 Stephen D. Bowling

About sdbowling

Director of the Breathitt County Public Library and Heritage Center in Jackson, Kentucky.
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