The city of Clay and the Clay Historical Society held a dedication ceremony for the new Wear Cemetery fence Saturday morning.
The veterans’ cemetery is named after Samuel Wear, who fought at King’s Mountain in the Revolutionary War when he was 14 years old.
More than 50 people met at Clay United Methodist Church and were shuttled by bus to the cemetery. Among the participants were Mayor Ed McGuffie, Clay City Council members, and Sen. Slade Blackwell’s executive assistant Michael Ciamarra.
Several descendants of the Wear family, including some members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, were also in attendance.
“We had a lot of families there that descended from the Wear family,” Clay City Councilwoman and Historical Society Trustee Jackie Hambrick said. “That was very significant. I know there were three DAR members there that attended. They have also been very active in preserving the cemetery and promoting and supporting it.”
The Clay Historical Society raised $3,500 at a citywide auction last year to put toward the purchase of the $8,000 fence for the cemetery. McGuffie and the city council agreed to have the city pay the remaining balance.
During the dedication, the society presented McGuffie with a framed plaque, which included a picture of Wear and his family. The plaque will be on display at Clay City Hall, Hambrick said.
“Mayor McGuffie has been such a supporter of preserving the history of Clay,” she said.
Wear descendant Ray Clayton and his wife, Vena, donated flowers for the dedication.
“We had beautiful flowers on the gate and we also had a beautiful cross made of flowers that were placed right there beside Samuel Wear’s grave,” Hambrick said.
Ricki Self, the wife of Clay Historical Society President Ron Self, presented the cross that was placed on the grave. She is also a descendant of the Wear family.
Another descendant, Sheryl Stewart, gave a general history of the Wear family and told how they came from Tennessee into Alabama and settled in the Clay area.
“The whole focus of her speech was (that) the faith of these men and women is what brought them to America,” Hambrick said
The members of the Clay Historical Society, along with the Wear descendants, placed single flowers on each grave in the cemetery as well.
“We were not trying to just focus on Samuel Wear, but all the veterans that are buried there,” Hambrick said.