Category Archives: –LUMPKIN COUNTY GA–

Historic Mount Gilead Baptist Church Cemetery, Lumpkin County

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Located in the Garland community, this historic cemetery is characterized by a number of soapstone box and slot-and-tab tombs. Twenty cemeteries located within an 11-mile radius of Wahoo Baptist Church, in Lumpkin, White, and Hall counties feature these unique grave markers, with two others in Pickens and Jackson counties. Tom Kunesh of Tennessee is the authority on these mysterious adornments and has been researching them for years.

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Most of the soapstone grave markers in Mount Gilead Cemetery are simple boxes, as opposed to the slightly more elaborate slot-and-tab variety, but there are fourteen documented examples here.

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The varied sizes, as seen above, would seem to indicate adult and child burials.

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There is a singular beauty to these objects, speaking to the utilitarian needs of congregants and the skill of area carvers. Kunesh suggests that these were essentially empty boxes placed over the burial as a decorative means of preventing open-range livestock from stepping into freshly dug graves, as well as a foil against “resurrectionists” from digging remains.

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The slot-and-tab variety is uncommon at Mount Gilead, but on one of the tabs is the only burial on which a name (Lowry) is legible.

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There are several “clusters” of these markers, suggesting family plots, and several which stand alone.

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Some of the tombs have begun to collapse.

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Others, as seen below, have completely sunk. The rectangular slab atop the tombs is known as a ledger stone. It’s possible that in some cases, only a ledger stone was used, similar to a modern slab.

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General Store, Garland

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Blood Mountain Wilderness from Chestatee Overlook, Lumpkin County

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No matter the time of year, the vista of the Blood Mountain Wilderness from Chestatee Overlook is always worth a look.

Chattahoochee National Forest

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General Store, Nimblewill

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Etowah River, Lumpkin County

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Auraria, Georgia

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As the Georgia Historical Commission marker notes: Auraria, (Gold), in 1832 the scene of Georgia’s first gold rush, was named by John C. Calhoun, owner of a nearby mine worked by Calhoun slaves. Auraria and Dahlonega were the two real gold towns in the U.S. before 1849. Between 1829 and 1839 about $20,000,000 in gold was mined in Georgia’s Cherokee country. From Auraria in 1858 the “Russel boys”, led by Green Russell, went west and established another Auraria near the mouth of Cherry Creek that later became Denver Colo. Green Russell uncovered a fabulous lode called Russell Gulch near which was built Central City, Colo., “richest square mile on earth.”

As to the Calhoun Mine, it was indeed owned by the John C. Calhoun, seventh Vice President of the United States.

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Woody’s Store, Auraria

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The iconic Woody’s Store, closed since the 1980s, is one of the most photographed landmarks in North Georgia. Please do not park in the driveways of the property, however, as a private residence shares the property.

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