City Archives offering Oak Hill Cemetery tour Dec. 5

ALEXANDER CAIN :::

Local residents will have an opportunity to learn more about the history and heritage of Oak Hill Cemetery when the Archives division of the City of Griffin hosts a guided walking tour of the property on December 5th.

Archivist Cynthia Barton will provide a one-hour tour of the older sections of the cemetery. The walking tour will feature names buried within the property and provide information on the more unique headstones at the site.

“It is a collaboration between the Flint River Library and the Archives. It’s something that we have been talking about doing for awhile,” Barton said. “In the past, there have been cemetery walks, or cemetery rambles, that were well-attended. This will be a small, guided walk through a small section of the cemetery. It will be very respectful of those who are buried there and respectful to the families of those who are buried on the property.”

Some names may be familiar to local residents while others may have been known through local history but not immediately recognizable by everyone, according to Barton.

Names like John McIntosh Kell, who was famous for his activities before and after the Civil War, or Sam Bailey, whose name identifies a building on the former Taylor Street Middle School campus in downtown Griffin.

“When I first started, I would ask people ‘Who was Sam Bailey?’ or ‘Why is the building named after Sam Bailey?’ and no one could tell me,” Barton said.

Since accepting the position as Archivist, Barton has spoken to local residents, combed through multiple newspaper articles, birth certificates and old documents in an attempt to both update and improve upon the many archives of information available within the Griffin-Spalding County area.

Barton has had an interest in archiving for years, and has also walked through and examined cemeteries in other cities for both information and exercise purposes. She will sometimes walk through a property like Oak Hill Cemetery to experience both the peacefulness and history of the site at the same time.

“The cemetery is full of stories, and there are a lot of symbols on the headstones which people may not know about. I would like to recognize families that have contributed to Griffin but might not be too well known. This will be a very respectful stroll through the property, but I’m not going to tell you everything that we will focus on just yet,” Barton said in a recent interview with The Grip. “This is coming about because I was finding out about all the stories as I went through my research. I know about these cemetery rambles in the past and I have hopes to carry them on.”

Barton stated that she did not create the cemetery walk for publicity purposes, but rather as an event to provide history and heritage information to the public while providing a respectful and reverent distance to the family members who may have relatives or ancestors buried on the property.

“I hope that the people see the beauty in it and take pride in their local history and pride in this property. There are many people who would never think to enter a cemetery for historic information. I think many of the cemetery walks in the past have been a way to get the word out that cemeteries like Oak Hill should be revered and respected.”

The Griffin Spalding Archives guided walk through historic Oak Hill Cemetery will take place on Thursday, December 5th, from 3:00  – 4:30 p.m.

The event is a free event, but tickets are limited for participation.  Tickets will be available beginning Tuesday, November 26th.

For more information, contact the City of Griffin Archives Department at (770) 233-4130 extension 398 or e-mail archives@cityofgriffin.com. Ω

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Comments

  1. I think this is great and would love to attend, but how about planning something for the working stiffs in the community. No way I could attend a Thursday afternoon event without taking time off of work.

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