Vets dream of veteran memorial at K-Springs Cemetery

Veterans Larry McCrory (Air Force), Jerry Shirley (Army), Ray Shirley (Army), W.F. Ferguson (Marines) and Larry Atkins (Army), all members of the K-Springs Veteran's Memorial, Inc., are pictured at the mock memorial in the cemetery on Highway 39 in Chelsea. They are raising funds to build a permanent memorial to honor the veterans who are buried in the cemetery and those who have served in the area. (Contributed)

Veterans Larry McCrory (Air Force), Jerry Shirley (Army), Ray Shirley (Army), W.F. Ferguson (Marines) and Larry Atkins (Army), all members of the K-Springs Veteran’s Memorial, Inc., are pictured at the mock memorial in the cemetery on Highway 39 in Chelsea. They are raising funds to build a permanent memorial to honor the veterans who are buried in the cemetery and those who have served in the area. (Contributed)

By PHOEBE DONALD ROBINSON / Community Columnist

The K-Springs community in Chelsea, formerly known as Kendrick Springs, was settled in the 1850s by the early Shelby County pioneer Kendrick family.

The history of those early days and settlers is told in detail by Chelsea native Shelby Shelton Nivens in her historical book, “Early Settlers of the K-Springs Area.”

Churches and schools are vital to any community. The K-Springs Church of God, now called the Connection, started in 1902 by the Kendrick and Moore families in homes.

In 1904 the church moved to the Morris School House and in 1911 to land on the east side of Yellow Leaf Creek deeded by Tom and Louise Kendrick, parents of Eunice Minor.

In 1927, the church moved to the K-Springs School.

In 1936, the church bought the schoolhouse, tore the building down and built a new church.

In 1978, the church built a new brick church on Highway 39.

The K-Springs Cemetery located next to the church is a who’s who of Shelby County pioneers. Riley Moore 1855-1907 and Arlo Kendrick unknown-1914 are two of the earliest graves.

In recent years, descendants of those buried in the cemetery have been cleaning the graves and located over 30 veterans buried at K-Springs.

Patriotism runs deep in this community as many of the descendants are veterans themselves. Army veteran Ray Shirley, grandson of O. Frank and Ressie Vick Kendrick, conceived an idea of the K-Springs Veteran’s Memorial to honor all veterans in the area.

“It will include all veterans who have passed on, as well as those honorably discharged and those still serving,” said Shirley. “All these men and women served their country bravely and kept us safe from harm and free from tyranny. In order to make our dream a reality, we will need to raise $30,000. Any amount will be greatly appreciated.”

Serving on the memorial committee with Shirley are fellow veterans: Larry W. Adkins, Army; W.J. Ferguson, Marines; Jimmie N. Adkins, Army; Jerry Shirley, Army; Gus Speary, Army; Rusty Schoenfeld, Army; Eddy Burchfield, Army; and Larry W, McCrory, Air Force.

To donate, make check to K-Springs Veteran’s Memorial, Inc., c/o William Speary, Jr., 182 Cotton Lane, Vincent, Ala. 35178.

About Phoebe Donald Robinson

I am President of Donald Real Estate and Ins. Co., Inc., a company that my grandfather , Charles J. Donald, founded in 1925. I am the third generation owner of the business. I am also the Columbiana Columnist for the Shelby County Reporter.

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