Noted scholar visits Old Clarkesville Cemetery

On March 6, representatives of Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. met with Staci Catron, director of the Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. Shown, from left, are Catron and HCCP, Inc. board member Brooks Garcia.
Photo: E. Lane Gresham © 2021

Despite the limitations of the pandemic, work continues behind the scenes at the Old Clarkesville Cemetery. 
On March 6, representatives of Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc. met with Staci Catron, director of the Cherokee Garden Library, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 
One of Catron’s research interests is cemetery resident Jarvis Van Buren. An accomplished architect, builder and horticulturist, Van Buren and wife Eliza lived in Gloaming Cottage, just up the street from the cemetery. 
Catron will help confirm whether Van Buren influenced the intentional plantings of trees and other botanical elements in the cemetery, primarily as grave markers. 
HCCP, Inc. board member Brooks Garcia invited Catron to visit the historic landmark. 
“I had shared my speculation that every single tree and shrub in the cemetery was a botanical grave marker,” Garcia said. “Staci was astounded at the prospect; she’d never come across another cemetery where this had occurred. Confirmation of this would make our cemetery even more unique. We look forward to hearing more about what her follow-up research might uncover.” 
According to Catron, the cemetery is an important historic site.
“The many stories of those buried there provide tangible links to Clarkesville’s complex and intriguing history,” Catron said. “From a modest river stone with simple initials on its face to elaborate marble monuments, the grave markers are invaluable historical records and often delightful works of Victorian art. The old trees—botanical gems—watch over the dead with their quiet majesty. The light filters through their branches, bringing calm and beauty to those who visit this special sanctuary.”
Catron also manages the Georgia Historic Landscape Initiative, a documentation project of historic landscapes and gardens, in partnership with the Garden Club of Georgia, Inc., the National Park Service and the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s