Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Holly Grove

As I have explored the area of Georgia where we are currently located, I have noticed many cemeteries just tucked in the woods alongside the road.  There does not seem to be any kind of development or building nearby.  Just an overgrown cemetery in the woods.  One in particular has caught my eye every time I drove by it.  I finally decided to stop several days ago.

Holly Grove Cemetery is on Georgia State Highway 18 in Monroe County.  I did a little research and found out that it was the cemetery of Holly Grove Baptist Church, established ~1823.  The church building was also used as a school for grades 1-8.  The area is surrounding Holly Grove is not exactly bustling with activity these days and it is hard to imagine the need for a church or a schoolhouse!  

By around the turn of the century, the church was gone.  I read in one account that the building was destroyed by fire.  In another account, it was laid waste by storms, time, and neglect.  By this time, the congregation had already been divided and gone their separate ways over whether they were Missionary Baptists or Primitive Baptists.  I'm not exactly sure what that means but I'm sure a great many friendships and even family ties were hurt.

The demise of the church meant the cemetery was on its own against the steady advance of the forest.  Eventually, the loved ones that tended the graves of their loved ones were dead and gone as well.  And soon the kudzu vines and Georgia pine trees were winning the war.  Now 100 years later, an occasional genealogist or lover of history will creep thru the forest, trying to unearth the secrets held by those decaying headstones.

Neglected cemeteries always fill me with conflicting emotions.

The genealogist in me loves finding a genealogical treasure hidden in the woods.  Headstones with names and dates of long lost ancestors thrill me to no end.  But the human in me, the thought that there is no one left to tend the graves fills me with infinite sadness.

Even with those conflicting emotions, I am drawn to them.  And love to explore them.  And to imagine what these people and their lives might have been like.


Lisa @ Two Bears Farm said...

What a cool find! Neglected cemeteries don't make me sad. Rather I think that the people there have now truly find their peace and quiet, surrounded by nature.

Lisa said...

I love watching "who do you think you are?". They uncover treasures like neat.

George said...

We often stop at old cemeteries as well. Most still have some care, but some are neglected like Holly Grove.

Busy Bee Suz said...

You are such a deep hearted explorer. I think the fact that you visit some of these places, keeps the *spirits* up. If you know what I mean. xoxo

Betsy from Tennessee said...

As a Genealogist at heart (when I have time)--you know how much I love old cemeteries... Wouldn't you think there'd be some members of the families buried there --who would want to clean up that cemetery? Makes me sad...

Interesting post, Woody.

Anonymous said...

For years, this cemetery was taken care of by two old men(cousins) that had 3 descendants buried there. They were in their early 90's and have since died. Now it's up to other descendants to maintain and getting people to want to do this, is not easy. A lot of work has been done recently by Roquemore descendants, but other families need to get involved. Need help!! Edi