|Decoration Day has
been generally unobserved here and entirely so except the decoration of
one grave. Judge J. J. Simpson, County Clerk, M. M. Collins, Dr. J. H.
Myers and Leslie Cary enwreathed and strew flowers upon the grave of
Capt. John T. McLain. Capt. McLain will always be remembered with an
intermixture of admiration and curiosity by those who knew him and will
be looked upon with some degree of mystery and superstition by those
whose information comes second handed. The grave situated
upon the summit of "Big Hill," the highest point in Cumberland county
and more than 900 feet above the sea-level. Here the body of the once
brave Capt. McLain has been resting for more than thirty years, a view
from which place down upon the Cumberland valley and the town of
Burkesville below, the verdured hills to the right and left, and e'en
Cumberland moutains the horizon, must rival the grandeur of Yosemite.
Capt. McLain was buried at this point at his own request which was made
a few minutes before he died by his own hand. He shot himself in a
little house lately used by Dr. J. C. Herriford just below the
Burkesville Hotel. His request was to be buried by a certain
rose-bush on the summit of Big Hill, and it is told that he said that
this was as near Heaven as he could ever get and that he wanted to be
buried there for that reason. This is probably not true, however. The
grave is marked by one small white headstone containg the inscription:
"Capt. J. T. McLain, Co. J. 1st Ky. Cavalry."
The following concerning Capt. McLain is copied from the Adjutant General's Report: "Capt. John T. McLain was enrolled August 20, 1861; mustered in December 5, 1861, at Camp Boyle, Kentucky, for three years; was promoted from 1st Sergeant to 2nd Lieutenant, August 10, 1862; promoted to 1st Lieutenant July 4, 1863; promoted to Captain June 30, 1864."
Captain McLain was an eccentric man but greatly beloved by his comrades. He killed a man by the name of Dick Watson, a union soldier, thinking he was a guerilla. He was an inebriate and it is said that this led to his suicide. Mrs. Caroline Williams of Leslie, is a sister of his.
The Adair County News, June 6, 1900.