In 1975 at age 9, Decatur native John Murlin stumbled upon a macabre mystery –a gravestone dis-carded in the woods behind his grandparent’s home. John alerted his dad, who surmised that the stone had been removed from a private cemetery near adjacent Emory University; but identification was hindered by lichens and moss that obscured the engraving. The mysterious marker was trundled into the trunk of the family car, and went home with the Murlin’s.
The stone sat patiently behind the Murlin’s garage until March of this year, when John’s own son, Jack, a first-grader, inquired about it during a yard-work session. By that time, sunlight had eroded much of the growth and an inscription could be deciphered: Enoch Morgan, Son of L.S. & W.J. Morgan, Died March 11, 1848.
It had never dawned on John that the stone could have been stolen from Decatur Cemetery – he had originally found the marker several miles away. But the age of the stone convinced him that it may indeed belong at Decatur, the area’s oldest public cemetery.
Sure enough, an internet search and outreach to the Friends of Decatur Cemetery revealed Enoch Morgan’s gravesite –just a few hundred yards from the garage where the stone had stood all those years. And it turns out that Morgan is a bit of a celebrity; his grandfather, Col. James McNeil, is one of three Revolutionary War soldiers interred at Decatur Cemetery. Morgan’s parents and uncle are also buried on the site.
Cathy Vogel of Friends of Decatur Cemetery reported that Morgan’s plot is located in the old sec-tion of the cemetery near the gazebo across from the main entrance. The stone has been cleaned and buffed following its long exile, and is much whiter than those surrounding it.
As for John Murlin, he now lives in that house near Emory where he originally rescued Morgan’s gravestone almost 40 years ago.