Cemetery tours to highlight Bartow’s rich history
by Marie Nesmith
Oct 02, 2012 | 1258 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Through two cemetery tours, area residents will have the opportunity to delve into Bartow’s past by exploring the lives of its former inhabitants.

“An Evening in Oak Hill Cemetery”

The Bartow History Museum’s ninth annual “An Evening in Oak Hill Cemetery” walking tour will be presented by Parnick Jennings Funeral Home and Cremation Services on Saturday. During the offering, actors from StageWorks Inc. will portray well-known residents who are buried at the Cartersville cemetery — at the corner of Erwin Street and Cassville Road — that have connections to the railroad.

“This year’s theme relates to the railroad, to railroading history, and that could mean people that worked on the railroad or had jobs associated with the railroad or that were tragically killed on the railroad,” said BHM Director Trey Gaines. “[At] some of our stops, we’ll meet one of the depot agents [and] we’ll meet one of the hotel managers whose business was directly impacted by the railroad.

“I think the cemetery tour ... allows people to learn about Bartow County history, the people that lived here and made their livings here and raised their families here and what they contributed to our history. It also is an opportunity for people to learn about certain topics. ... In previous years, we’ve done themes like from the Civil War and Atco. So it just allows you to learn more about specific areas of Bartow County history.”

During “An Evening in Oak Hill Cemetery,” tours will depart at 5:30, 6, 6:30, 7 and 7:30 p.m. With tickets — $15 for BHM members and $20 for non-members — being in limited supply, interested individuals need to purchase them in advance at the museum gift shop at 4 E. Church St. in Cartersville or by calling 770-387-2774.

Along with sharing the stories of former Bartow residents, the event also will highlight Oak Hill Cemetery, which has been a part of Cartersville’s landscape for more than 170 years.

“It’s a very historic cemetery dating back to the 1830s,” Gaines said. “It was originally a cemetery for a local Methodist congregation who had a church there on top of the hill and then it became the city’s cemetery.

“The city acquired the property in the 1870s. You’ve got people like Sam Jones, Rebecca Felton, Bill Arp, P.M.B. Young, so you [have] authors, preachers, Civil War figures and politicians ... a wide range of more well-known people that are buried there that contributed to our history.”

For more information about the walking tour, call 770-382-3818, ext. 6288 or visit www.bartowhistorymuseum.org.

“Story Time in the Cassville Confederate Cemetery”

Echoing Gaines’ comments, Dale Black also feels the county’s oldest cemeteries have a wealth of knowledge to share.

While Oak Hill Cemetery will serve as the setting for Saturday’s event, the Cassville Confederate Cemetery at the corner of Cass-White Road and Shinall Gaines Road will be the backdrop for the second cemetery tour of the month. Starting at 3 p.m. on Oct. 13, Black — a member of the Cassville Historical Society — will lead a free walking tour of the cemetery, discussing the history of Cassville and some of its notable former residents.

“[At the event] I’ll talk about [how] the town started,” Black said. “It was one of the cultural and judicial [centers] in north Georgia before the Civil War [and] it was the largest city in north Georgia. There was 14 practicing attorneys there. It had an academy and then by 1854 there were two colleges — a male and a female college. It was where the county seat was. [Along with the] two-story brick courthouse on the square, [there also] were, at one time, four hotels. They had a doctor, a dentist, a bookstore and a paper — one of the first papers in that part of the state.

“[Then on] Nov. 5, 1864, the 5th Ohio Cavalry entered Cassville with orders to burn the town. They gave the inhabitants 20 minutes to get out what they could [from] their houses. A lot of the people had already left and [fled] to south Georgia but there were approximately 40 families living in Cassville at that time. I think that there were like four grown men that were actually living there then, the rest of them were women and children. And when they set fire to the houses, they said the whole downtown square was on fire. It spread in a matter of a few minutes probably. ... A lot of [the families] didn’t come back and rebuild. [After the war,] there [were] three churches, three residences and the cemetery [remaining].”

During the tour, Cassville Historical Society members, who will be donned in period clothing, will portray area residents who are buried at the cemetery. Among those laid to rest at the site are more than 300 unknown Confederate soldiers, who received headstones in May 1899 courtesy of the Cassville Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

“[The tour will highlight] the history of the cemetery and what the people in the cemetery contributed to the county,” Black said. “There’s a lot of notable people buried in that old cemetery, like Warren Akin, he was a Confederate congressman, [and] William T. Wofford — he was a lawyer, a representative and then he was a general in the Civil War.”

For information about “Story Time in the Cassville Confederate Cemetery,” call Black at 678-322-6967.