Church history notes that all members of Candler Methodist transferred from other churches and the congregation was established on 17 July 1887. S. H. Braswell was the fist pastor. Charter members were the Bats, Cobb, Simmons, Heely, Little, and Coh families.
On a ridge behind the church is a small cemetery of reburials from the Dunacan Cemetery [not to be confused with the Dunagan Chapel Cemetery], which was to be submerged by the Buford Dam and Reservoir project on Lake Lanier in 1957.
The graves are marked by small stones with no identification. I hope someone has a list of names somewhere.
One of the best surviving grave houses I’ve found in Georgia is the final resting place of two pioneers of the nearly forgotten Eudora community, John Ashbury Allen (11 January 1815 – 5 October 1891), and Nancy Goodman Crawford Allen (6 September 1816 – 30 May 1882). The Allen family were involved in farming and also owned a store and ran the post office in Eudora at one time, I believe.
NOTE: The Allen Family Cemetery is private and can only be seen from the roadside.
I haven’t been able to locate a history of Nebo Cemetery, located on a steep hillside near Meansville, but it features several notable vernacular headstones and many unmarked graves. The earliest known burials date to the 1930s.
This is an interesting memorial, which incorporates a plastic cross into a simple concrete stone.
This unknown burial is marked with a repurposed section of architectural concrete. It’s an interesting usage and the first I’ve seen of this type.
This is a style of headstone I’ve encountered in several rural cemeteries. Some have flowers in the tympanum [like this one] and others have had doves.
This historic Black congregation may have been established in the 1910s, as the earliest identifiable burials in the adjacent cemetery are circa 1919. There are several vernacular headstones present, including the three crosses that follow.
Katie Mumford (birth and death dates unknown)
George Lockett (birth and death dates unknown)
Harrett (sic; Harriet) Lockett (birth and death dates unknown)
Oakview and the adjacent Riverside Cemetery make up the largest historic burial ground in Albany. I’m presenting just a few of the monuments which I found aesthetically appealing, in no particular order. One could spend a whole day here exploring the wide array of Victorian monuments.
“Pattie’s Grave” is perhaps the best-loved monument in Oak Hill. My taphophile friend, Cynthia Jennings, told me that it was a must-see and it didn’t disappoint. Pattie was the nickname of Martha Dillon Wright Jones. The monument features an angel of white Italian marble housed in a Gothic steeple enclosure. Little is known of Pattie, but the monument notes that she married Columbia County native Edwin Thomas Jones (22 May 1831-1 September 1867) at Appling, Georgia, on 4 April 1850. Jones would later serve as Lieutenant of Company E, 4th Georgia Infantry. It further notes that Pattie “died at the plantation of her husband…in Dougherty County”. The monument is an indication that he was deeply saddened by her early death.
Edward Vason Jones, scion of a prominent Albany family, was one of the most noted Georgia architects of his time and a member of the Georgia School of Classicism led by J. Neel Reid. Originally schooled in dentistry, he abandoned it in favor of architecture in 1936, and soon joined the Atlanta firm of Hentz, Reid, and Adler. He briefly designed ships for the Navy in World War II at Savannah. After the war he opened his own firm in Albany. His renovations of the Diplomatc Reception Rooms of the U. S. State Department between 1965-1980 were well-received and one of those rooms is now known as the Edward Vason Jones Memorial Hall. He also oversaw renovations in the White House during the Nixon, Ford, and Carter administrations. Other significant work include Gillionville Plantation, the Mississippi Governor’s Mansion, and numerous residential commissions throughout the South.
This Classical monument adorns the grave of Edward Vason Jones’s beloved daughter Nella. It is said to have been modeled after one of similar design in Savannah’s Bonaventure Cemetery, which was destroyed by a storm in recent years.
This is one of six nearly identical markers, made of local stone, in an eight-grave lot surrounded by coping of the same construction.
The figurative monuments of the Bell sisters, daughters of William S. and Texas Sheffield Bell, are typical of the Victorian era, when child mortality rates were nearly 33% higher than they are today.
The monuments honoring two of the children of Dr. Palaemon L Hilsman and Ella G. Rust Hilsman are more examples of Victorian child mortality. Even in a family of doctors, the Hilsman children weren’t immune from early deaths.
The Greek Revival mausoleum of the Samuel Bernard Brown family [founder of the Exchange National Bank], in the Jewish section, is one of the finest in Oakview.
Tomlinson Fort was Regents Professor and Chair of the Mathematics Department at the University of Georgia for many years. His son followed his footsteps to academia and chaired the Chemical Engineering departments of Carnegie Mellon and Vanderbilt universities. The Forts were descendants of Warrenton-born Tomlinson Fort (1787-1859; buried at Memory Hill in Milledgeville), an early Georgia medical doctor who helped establish the Medical College of Georgia and the State Lunatic Asylum. He was also a member of the Georgia legislature and the United States Houses of Representatives.
John Porter Fort was the son of Congressman Tomlinson Fort. He dug the first artesian well in South Georgia and was an early booster of the apple industry in North Georgia. An early agricultural scientist, he was awarded a “Doctor of Science” by the University of Georgia.
Nelson Tift, a native of Groton, Connecticut, was the founder of Albany.
I recently spent a weekend with a friend documenting historic black churches in Burke County, with the goal of visiting the final resting place of Ahmaud Arbery (8 May 1994-23 February 2020). It was a timely visit, as the three men responsible for his murder had all recently been found guilty and sentenced to life in prison for their act of racist vigilantism/lynching.
It gave me pause to think how much work still needs to be done to erase the attitudes that led to this heinous crime, though I’m encouraged that people of all races are just as repulsed by it as I am. While politicians continue to thread the needle with pie-in-the-sky philosophies intended to discourage any discussion of race, a majority white jury finding three white men guilty of lynching a young unarmed black man is proof that we have indeed made progress.
This church was founded by Reverend Quillar Vertery Russell (6 October 1889-26 June 1959), whose mausoleum is located on the property.
Russell was a successful entrepreneur who owned the mill in Keysville and other commercial interests. I’m unclear as to what the original name of the church was, but it has primarily been known as the Keysville Evangelistic Church. It has served both white and black congregants, and was last known as the New House of Worship.
In 1876, Adam McCullough and his wife Henrietta were walking on their property and decided that this site would be a wonderful place to build a house of worship. They made a covenant to each other that they would donate the land for this purpose, and from this covenant came McCullough Covenant Baptist Church. It was originally a branch of Pine Hill Baptist Church. Henry C. Lane was the first pastor. I am unsure when the present structure was built.
Mr. McCullough was among the most successful black entrepreneurs in late-19th-century Burke County, owning over 900 acres of land and a good herd of livestock. He owned a large home across the road from the present church and a cotton gin, as well. When Adam McCullough died in 1906, he left his entire estate to his fourth wife, Olive. She and his other three wives are all buried in the cemetery at McCullough Covenant.
Sunset Hill is the oldest public cemetery in Valdosta. It was established in 1861 with a gift of 30 acres by Charles Ogden Force, a former Valdosta postmaster. Like the vast majority of Victorian cemeteries, Sunset Hill has a park-like layout. It is well-maintained by the city. I only had time to document a few monuments, so the examples here are shared for their general aesthetic appeal.
This fascinating relief is one of four which adorn the sides of the monument of Dr. Oscar Samuel Cummings, a native of New Hampshire who practiced medicine and was an active Mason in Valdosta before his death. It is the work of the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Monumental Bronze marketed their memorials as “white bronze”, though they were neither white nor bronze. Instead, they were cast of zinc and were quite popular, and expensive, during the 1880s and 1890s.
The Last Voyage was designed by sculptor Archibald McKellar for the Monumental Bronze Company in 1881. It was based on A Gentle Wafting to Immortal Life, a marble sculpture by Felix M. Miller, and an engraving by William Roffe. Miller chose his title from a line in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “A death, like Sleep, A gentle wafting to immortal life.”