Volunteers accelerate progress at Old Clarkesville Cemetery

The community showed up to pay tangible tribute to the past at a Sept. 29 work day at the Old Clarkesville Cemetery.

Volunteers and Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. board members work together to shift a monument in order to pour a new foundation during the Sept. 29 work day. Shown, from left, are Lee Webb, Doug Henry, Polly Earle and Brooks Garcia. E. Lane Gresham © 2018

“It would have taken us three months to accomplish this,” said Polly Earle, board member with Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc.

One volunteer, the first to arrive, drove from Marietta to help. Lee Webb, a former classmate of HCCP, Inc. board member Brooks Garcia, was followed by a steady stream of eager helpers.

The Dale family of Cornelia showed up ready to help with the Old Clarkesville Cemetery work day. Jason Dale, 7 and younger sister, Lacey, 4, worked as hard as the adults on several projects. E. Lane Gresham © 2018

Close to 20 people contributed service hours to help with landscaping, headstone cleaning, heavy lifting and other related tasks.

“I was moved greatly by the outpouring of support for this project. It shows that the community is really behind this worthy cause to protect, preserve and share this valuable cultural treasure with the residents of Clarkesville, Habersham County and the state of Georgia,” Garcia said. “Besides it was great fun!”

Diane Brown, board member with Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. cleans what is believed to be the oldest headstone in the Old Clarkesville Cemetery, Calvin Hanks, a Clarkesville attorney. Records indicate in 1834, Hanks was stabbed by three men on the streets of downtown Clarkesville. Reportedly, the crime went unpunished when the jurors set his four accused killers free. A grand jury indictment (the only surviving courthouse record of the crime) names four suspects, all distinguished residents of the town. E. Lane Gresham © 2018

Clarkesville Mayor Barrie Aycock chairs the HCCP board and has made the cemetery project a priority in her schedule.

“What an exciting day we had last Saturday at our historic cemetery,” Aycock said. “It was wonderful to see so many eager volunteers working on cleaning gravestones, picking up trash, searching for buried monuments and planting beautiful things. Thank you all for your enthusiasm and support for this project.”

Several groups sent volunteers to join the effort, including the Clarkesville Garden Club, Sons of Confederate Veterans, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Habersham Guard Camp No. 716 and Mount Hope Cemetery in Dahlonega.

A fundraiser to support restoration efforts is planned for Oct. 11. A limited number of tickets for An Evening at Villa Sole are still available.

Visit oldclarkesvillecemetery.com for more information.

 

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