Lauderdale County, Alabama
General John Coffee Cemetery
Laud Cem # 611 T2S, R11W, Sec 34
Surveyed January 2008 by Robert Torbert
Location: From Cox Creek Parkway in Florence, go N on AL 157; Lt at first traffic light into Wal Mart parking lot. The cemetery is on the left side of the parking lot, surrounded by a stone wall. A small slave/servant cemetery is adjacent to the cemetery (look for iron fencing just to the south) and an African-American cemetery with no named tombstones lies across the street to the west.
The cemetery where General John Coffee and his family lie in repose gained national attention in 2012 when Wal Mart announced plans to build a store on the property immediately north of the cemetery. While neighbors of the site were opposed to the plans due to the increased traffic and noise the store would bring, other members of the community were very concerned that the Wal Mart would be built on top of unmarked graves of 80 slaves and servants of the Coffee family.
Extensive surveys and tests showed no evidence of burials in Wal Mart's path, and the supercenter opened in 2014. To their credit, Wal Mart pledged and delivered $25,000 to restore the crumbling cemetery, and thanks to the tireless work of the members of the Florence Historical Board, city employees, Wal Mart volunteers, and other members of the community, the site has become a fitting showplace worthy of the General and a tourist attraction where visitors can pay tribute to one of the truly unsung heroes of the War of 1812 and a founder of Florence.