Georgia Cemeteries

Georgia Cemeteries

Black Pioneers Cemetery, ca. 1830 — Euharlee, Bartow County

June 6, 2012

Monument, Black Pioneers Cemetery, Euharlee, GA. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, June 6, 2012
Gravestones and unmarked graves. Black Pioneers Cemetery. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, June 6, 2012.
Black Pioneers Cemetery, Euharlee, Georgia. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, June 6, 2012

Grave of Rev. Thomas Milton Allen, Marietta City Cemetery – Marietta, Cobb County

May 31, 2014

Family plot of Rev. Thomas Milton Allen (1833-1909), Marietta City Cemetery. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, May 31, 2014
Historical marker, Rev. Thomas Milton Allen

Prominent minister who was born a slave 1833. He was a charter member of Zion Baptist at its founding in 1866 and its second pastor (1869-1885). In 1885 he organized Cole St. & later Pleasant Grove and Whitlock Avenue Baptist Churches. In 1890 formed first Asso. For black churches (As a slave named “Allen” was baptized in 1858.)

Historical marker text, Marietta City Cemetery
Inscription for Rev. Thomas Milton Allen, Marietta City Cemetery. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, May 31, 2014

In Loving Remembrance of Our Father Rev. T. M. Allen/Born Feb 22, 1833/Died/Apr. 11, 1909/Founder Kennesaw Bapt Association/Nov 1890

Rev, Thomas Milton Allen monument inscription

In Memoriam: Alonzo Franklin Herndon, South-View Cemetery — Atlanta, Fulton County

February 17, 2015

Gravestone of Alonzo Franklin Herndon (1858-1927). South-View Cemetery. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, February 15, 2012

Alonzo Herndon, Wealthy Atlanta Man, Died July 21 — From Barber to Insurance Head and Millionaire

Atlanta, Ga. – After an illness that lasted through several months Alonzo F. Herndon, president of the Atlanta Life Insurance Co., died at his late residence, 1 University place near Atlanta University on Thursday night July 21, aged 69 years, leaving an estate estimated at near $1,000,000.
Mr. Herndon came to Atlanta in 1882, and laid the foundation of his fortune by working at his trade as a barber. He later bought control of the Atlanta Mutual Insurance Co, an industrial benefit organization, which was expanded under his management into the Atlanta Life, a regular straight line insurance company.

The New York Age, July 30, 1927

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Memorials to United States Colored Troops —  Atlanta, Fulton County

May 28, 2017

A photo-essay series dedicated to the United States Colored Troops, and how they were remembered in contemporary news media.

Grave of Cpl George “Union” Wilder – Co. F, 137th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, February 15, 2012

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Voices of Liberation and Freedom: The Fall of Richmond, April 3, 1865

April 3, 2018

Richmond, the Confederate capital, entered by the Union army.

Today is the 153rd anniversary of the liberation of Richmond, Virginia, by Union forces during America’s Civil War, 1861-1865. The first soldiers to enter Richmond were the “colored” regiments of the Union Army, ranks formed of free and formerly enslaved African-Americans.

Our own ancestors were a part of this collective sacrifice and struggle for freedom, escaping slavery where they were held in bondage, and serving with the 1st, 2nd, 10th, 36th, and 37th Regiments of the United States Colored Infantry, the 1st and 2nd Regiments of the United States Colored Cavalry, and as domestics, laundresses, and messengers in and around Union camps and hospitals. This post reflects just a few of the sites I’ve visited over the years that chronicle the long road to freedom. Continue reading

A new headstone for 1st Sgt. Martin Smith, 36th Regiment, U. S. Colored Infantry

April 10, 2018

Martin Smith USCT Portsmouth Copyright 2013 Nadia Orton
Headstone of 1st Sgt. Martin Smith, 36th U. S. Colored Infantry. Photo: Nadia K. Orton, Memorial Day Weekend (May 25), 2013

Today we received word that a new headstone for 1st Sgt. Martin Smith, 36th U. S. Colored Infantry, has been approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Born enslaved, ca. 1840 in Nansemond County (City of Suffolk), Virginia, Martin escaped and enlisted on January 5, 1864, at Norfolk, Virginia, and mustered in on January 25th. At the time of his enlistment, he was described as five feet, four inches tall, with a “light complexion, black eyes and hair.” His occupation was noted as “laborer.” During the war, he was present with his regiment at Point Lookout, Maryland, Bermuda Hundred, Petersburg and Richmond through December, 1864, and assigned to an ammunition train of the artillery brigade, January to April, 1865. Martin was appointed Corporal on August 1, 1865, Sergeant on March 23, 1866, and 1st Sergeant on July 28, 1866. He mustered out with the surviving members of his regiment on October 28, 1866, at Brazos Santiago, Texas. Continue reading

In Their Own Words: Voices of African American WWI Veterans

November 12, 2018

On Sunday, November 11, 2018, the 100th anniversary of the Armistice, the technical end of World War I, was observed by our nation and many countries throughout the world. As with other major historical events, I viewed the day through the lens of a historian and genealogist. It can be quite an interesting enterprise; as a historian, you want to know all of the facts of an event, and as a genealogist, you’re eager to place your ancestors within the context of those events. 

Over the years, our family has located the grave sites of many of our ancestors that served in World War I. We’ve tracked them to historic African American cemeteries in Portsmouth, Richmond and Suffolk in Virginia, Buncombe, Franklin, Henderson, Hertford, and Warren counties in North Carolina, and Knoxville National Cemetery in Tennessee.

At times, whether simply visiting their gravesites, or planting flags, I’d find myself staring down at the stones, and wondering what their WWI experience was like. Sure, I could review the details of the various battles and engagements in books, or read first-person accounts from some of the more famous veterans, but those sources wouldn’t tell me what my ancestors thought, nor how they felt about the war.

That’s why I was so excited to learn about the WWI History Commission questionnaires, many of which have been or are currently being digitized by local and state libraries. A historical window into the minds and memories of long-deceased ancestors? Perfect! Continue reading