I must apologize for not getting a response to you sooner. I have
updated the following, which I had put in my draft folder, but failed to
complete and send:
First of all, I want to thank you and your group for your expressing an
interest and willingness to participate in the rescue of the Clapp's
Factory Cemetery. That such a sacred site has been allowed to
deteriorate is an unfortunate plight, and its restoration is long
overdue. I will try here to answer the questions you posed in your
I personally made several visits to Columbus during 2003, in part to
research the history of the Clapp's Factory mill, settlement and
cemetery, in hopes of learning more about its location, size and so
forth. After an extensive review of the deed record, I could find no
details - or even mention - of the cemetery in descriptions of the
Clapp's Factory property. I was also unable to locate any plat map that
shows the location or dimensions of the cemetery. Over the years, the
burial ground has been mentioned in several articles in the local
newspaper (and in Atlanta), but the details are sparse. A map published
in 1928 shows the location of the cemetery, but is not very useful in
determining size or dimensions. At that time, the area was still
outside the city limits in an area called Upwoods Park.
In March of last year, our group held a Clean-Up Day and, with the help
of personnel from Georgia Power, we removed some rubbish and cleared
dense vegetation from a considerable section of the main area of the
cemetery. On that occasion, a team of archaeologists conducted a
preliminary survey of the site and generated an analytical report. They
estimate that there are probably between 400 and 500 (or more) graves in
the vicinity, but will have to do a more thorough formal survey before
they can accurately detail the number and specific location of graves.
They recommended that we not clear any more trees until a formal survey
can be carried out, which ideally needs to be conducted in the winter.
The clearing of vines is still in order. At this time, the group does
not have the funds to pay for the formal survey.
The formal survey will be one step in the overall scheme of our Master
Plan, a guide which is still in the planning stages. Other possible
goals include erecting a fence to protect the site and any improvements
made; obtaining a deed to the property so that our group controls it and
is responsible for its maintenance (these two depend in a land survey,
which in turn depends on the formal archaeological survey - the extent
of the cemetery will derive from how far out graves are detected on each
side); placing a historical marker commemorating the cemetery, and
perhaps a monument in memory of those buried there; and other
improvements, such as gravel paths, benches and so forth. These and
other possible actions are still a matter of discussion within our
group, and we welcome input from the community.
Determining the proper boundaries of the cemetery is dependent on the
formal survey. It is likely that parts of the cemetery (for instance,
beyond the dirt road on the south) have been removed by natural erosion
or actions of Georgia Power in the past, but we cannot say for sure.
Georgia Power is now being cooperative and supportive of our efforts.
We will probably never know who is buried where (with the exception of
the J. F. CAIN grave, and perhaps the John LEWIS grave), short of DNA
testing, were such analysis found to be possible and feasible. We now
have a list of about fifty names of persons known or suspected to be
buried in the cemetery. Further archaeological survey may turn up
markers that are now buried in the topsoil, and other clues, such as
bricks lining burial plots or lots and such, may also help. It is
important that nothing of this nature in the cemetery be disturbed until
expert analysis can be conducted. We know from various reports that a
number of permanent markers were either destroyed by vandals or natural
deterioration (or perhaps washed away when the river swelled), and that
many graves had only temporary markers or were never marked at all.
The number and location of Confederate graves is indeterminate. A
newspaper article reports approximately 20 Confederate graves, laid out
in a row or rows, all marked at one time, the ages of many of the young
men being only 18 or 19. They are said to have fallen in the defense of
the area during the capture of Girard and Columbus in Aprl, 1865. There
is also another known soldier, Robert PAGE, who died in 1862 on Skidaway
Island near Savannah. His body was returned to Clapp's Factory, where
his family lived, and buried in the cemetery. A photograph of his
marker accompanied a 1928 article in the Columbus newspaper. He was the
brother of my great-grandmother, Permelia A. (PAGE) NEWSOME. Another
report mentions a number of Union graves in the vicinity, but only in
very vague terms.
During 2003, we incorporated in Georgia as a not-for-profit corporation
under the name Clapp's Factory Cemetery Preservation League. I have
committed to creating a proposed draft of a Master Plan and also to
generating a quarterly newsletter about the cemetery and our project,
but frankly I have fallen down on the job. Other obligations have left
me with less free time for such matters, and consequently our efforts
are at a standstill for the moment. However, we hope to make more
progress this year.
If you are interested in further background on Clapp's Factory, I will
be glad to send you some material. Again, we greatly appreciate your
willingness to contribute to the project, but our plans are in something
of a limbo for the time being.
John Mallory Land
Kemis Massey wrote:
> Okay, how do I answer his question about the scheduling?
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Louis W Baker
> To: Kemis Massey
> Sent: Saturday, November 15, 2003 8:04 PM
> Subject: Clapp's Factory Cemetery
> Hello. A group of men from our camp went to the cemetery today. It
> was a pleasant day to be in the outdoors. We found the marker of JF
> Cain by the trail and have a general idea of the dimensions. We are
> looking forward to working with your group on this project. Can we
> meet this month for a planning session?
> Meanwhile, there are some questions that we could not answer from our
> inspection tour. Can you give us some guidance on the following:
> 1. Is there a survey or other document that specifies the boundaries
> of the cemetery? What about the location of graves; is there a good
> source to research this?
> 2. While we want to support this project generally for the good of the
> community, the fact that motivates us is the idea that there are
> graves of veterans on site. Do you know what documentation there is
> about the number, identity, and location of soldier's graves?
> 3. What is the arrangement with Georgia Power? Do they own or lease
> the land? What kind of permission is necessary before continuing
> physical improvement?
> Our next camp meeting is Dec 4. If we could meet before then, it
> would be possible to inform our members about a schedule of work and
> make the necessary preparations for equipment and manpower
> Thank you for the opportunity to work on this special project.
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