Gloaming Supper guests dine with Clarkesville’s past

Photo: E. Lane Gresham © 2019 | Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. board member Polly Earle shares tidbits of history with guests at the recent Gloaming Supper, a fundraiser for the Old Clarkesville Cemetery. The event generated $1,400 for ongoing restoration and preservation efforts at the historic landmark.

Guests at the recent Gloaming Supper savored a taste of history.
The fundraiser for the Old Clarkesville Cemetery held May 18 featured a picnic supper on the grounds of historic Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church, live music by the Georgia Mudcats, history talks by members of the Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. board of directors followed by a candlelight tour of the historic landmark. Bagpiper Joe Cash of White County closed the evening on a poignant note, walking into the cemetery playing Amazing Grace as the sun set over downtown Clarkesville.
New to Clarkesville, Suzanne Poirier volunteered at the event.
“As a new member of the community my expectations were surpassed by the welcoming spirit of all involved,” Poirer said. “It was a fluid evening – moving from repast,  accompanied by the talents of down home Appalachian musicians – to an entertaining history lesson and finally onto the mission of the evening – “meeting” some of those who reside in the Old Clarkesville Cemetery.”
Nancy Smith of Clarkesville attended with friends.
“It was an extraordinary event in every respect. The candlelight walk through the cemetery at the gloaming hour was enchanted by perspectives so down-to-earth that the woven humor was natural and flavorful,” Smith said. “Every detail appealed to the senses – to the spirit – from wistful and spontaneous speakers to candles and bagpiper in the twilight. Brilliant!”
Special guest Frances Welch is a descendant of cemetery resident Jarvis Van Buren. Welch shared family history at the burial plot of Van Buren and his wife Eliza. She also demonstrated dowsing as a method of locating graves.
Van Buren’s many contributions to Habersham County are visible today in the architecture of historic churches and historic homes. Described as a horticulturist, nurseryman, writer, and builder, he contributed mightily to the area’s economic roots.
Close to 100 attendees learned more about Van Buren and others buried at the cemetery, including Frederick Eugene Durbec, noted Civil War photographer, Calvin Hanks, Clarkesville attorney, stabbed on the Clarkesville square in 1834 and Moses Harshaw, remembered as the most hated man in Georgia. His cruelty prompted the epitaph,” Died and Gone to Hell.”
Ticket sales added $1,400 to help with ongoing restoration and preservation efforts, said HCCP, Inc. board chair and Clarkesville Mayor Barrie Aycock.
“It was our hope to expand the awareness of this important project and we accomplished that,” Aycock said. “It was a fantastic evening to celebrate our community as we continue to make strides toward reaching our financial goals.”
For more information, visit or find Old Clarkesville Cemetery on Facebook or Instagram.

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