Do you have family buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery?
Please share your family information for Volume II
of this epic undertaking.
Please email us!

Athens Historical Society, Inc.

P.O. Box 7745, Athens GA 30604-7745

NEW WEBSITE coming soon -

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ACHF Publication of the Year for 2010!


Oconee Hill Cemetery
of Athens, Georgia

Volume I
Second Printing Now Available!

by Charlotte Thomas Marshall

xxxvi, 620 pp., hard cover, dust wrapper, illustrations, bibliography, index, 2009, second printing July 2010.
Retail price is $55.00 plus postage and handling. Order now!

The Athens Historical Society is pleased to announce the long-awaited publication of the first volume of its annotated edition of Oconee Hill Cemetery interments. Volume I is a greatly expanded version of its 1971 publication and covers the same sections of the cemetery as that book. Volumes II and III are already in progress and will cover all of the sections which have opened on the other side of the North Oconee River since January 1900.

[NOTE: We are now collecting family information for the next volume! If you have family buried in Oconee Hill, we hope you will share your research with us! Please email us!]

This book, the first of three proposed volumes about the cemetery, is the Athens Historical Society's 50th Anniversary publication. Oconee Hill Cemetery records became a project of the Society in 1963, resulting in the publication of tombstone inscriptions for the old part of the cemetery in 1971. One of the purposes of that book was to compile a list which would partially replace the first forty years of cemetery records which were lost to fire in 1896.

The present book, which contains information about 3,900 burials, is an update and vast expansion of that work, including maker's marks from monuments, data from the sexton's Record of Interments (beginning in 1897), abstracts of obituaries, and biographical data from other sources. There are notations linking families from lot to lot and section to section. Similar information about people buried in unmarked graves is included.

Each section of the oldest part of this Victorian natural landscape cemetery, established by the City of Athens in 1856, is detailed in the order the sections opened: West Hill, East Hill, Paupers Burying Ground, Colored Burying Ground, Valley, River Road and North Slope. And full information about two contiguous cemeteries, Factory Burial Ground and Congregation Children of Israel Cemetery, follows.

Additional materials included in this volume

The appendices include lists of trustees and sextons, a chronology of the cemetery's history, newspaper abstracts, and an article about the cemetery from the 1997 Athens Historian. More than 9,300 names are included in the index.

The illustrations range from 1856 newspaper ads for caskets and an 1859 deed signed by Thomas R. R. Cobb, first chairman of the Board of Trustees of the cemetery, to maps, aerial views, vintage photographs and documents from the Bisson Family Collection, and numerous images of monuments and cemetery scenes photographed between 1980 and 2009 by Kenneth Storey, Lori Clifton Conway, Mark Costantino, Harry Yates, Colleen Kelly and Kenneth Kay.

The Athens Historical Society is very grateful to the R. J. Taylor, Jr. Foundation for its generous grant to defray printing costs of this volume. A second printing of Volume I will be available in mid-July 2010.

About the Author

The book is the work of Charlotte Thomas Marshall, one of many Athenians who collect and preserve local history and joyously share it with all who are interested. This volume is the repository of much of the knowledge that she has acquired in nearly 40 years of researching 19th-century Athens.

In 1971 she edited the Society's first book about Oconee Hill Cemetery. After researching the origins of First Baptist Church in connection with its sesquicentennial, she wrote Glimpses Into the Antebellum History of the First Baptist Church, Athens, Georgia in 1981. Historic Houses of Athens followed in 1987. With her husband she edited Susan Frances Barrow Tate's Remembering Athens for the Society in 1996. She was a contributor to Gary L. Doster's A Postcard History of Athens, Georgia in 2002. And in 2007 she assisted Ruth Roberson Hughes in preparing The History and People of St. Luke A. M. E. Church. In 2008 the Georgia Genealogical Society recognized her for outstanding contributions to the field of genealogy.

Charlotte was the first woman to serve as a trustee of Oconee Hill Cemetery. She and her husband, George, are former presidents of the Athens Historical Society and both are charter members of Friends of Oconee Hill Cemetery.

The second printing is now available! Order your copy today!







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Pete McCommons
"A Fine and Private Place"
Flagpole, Dec. 2, 2009

This is not a book review: this is a cry of astonishment. I will never read Oconee Hill Cemetery of Athens, Georgia, Volume 1, by Charlotte Thomas Marshall all the way through, but I will never stop consulting and dipping into it from time to time—frequently, no doubt. I cannot comprehend the mind that could accomplish this book. Charlotte had a lot of help and built on previous work, as she details in the seven pages of acknowledgements and thanks with which she begins the book. With all that assistance and inspiration from precursors, mentors, friends and husband, Charlotte Marshall has produced a prodigious tome, a veritable who’s who of the cemetery, published by the Athens Historical Society in time for its 50th anniversary. The book begins invitingly enough with photographs by Kenneth I. Storey, depicting stones, monuments and mausoleums, and then plunges into the deeps with a plot-by-plot census on the town side of the Oconee River, including the Colored Burying Ground, the burial ground set aside for employees and families of Athens Manufacturing Company, the Congregation Children of Israel Cemetery and the Pauper Burying Ground. Volumes two and three will catalogue the transriparian cemetery environs.
    What could be duller and denser than a recitation of Stygian statistics? Why, all the living—marrying, birthing, working, moving, entrepreneuring, fighting, preaching, teaching—that all those people now sleeping on the hill accomplished while they were awake. The stats alone—the wife of, daughter of, grandson of with dates of birth, marriage and death—provide the record, but Charlotte and her enablers have enriched us far beyond the bare bones of the story. This book is fleshed out wherever possible with obituary references that bring the dead to life and make this a history not just of a cemetery but of a town.
Oconee Hill Cemetery of Athens, Georgia, Volume 1 is much more than a catalogue and more than a history: this book is a family bible for the city, whose past citizens are hereby rescued from anonymity and restored to permanence through these annals.

[click here to read the full review online]


From Sam Thomas, Curator of the T.R.R. Cobb House:
     In the past twenty years I have been very involved in cemeteries, being that they are one of my favorite places. I served on the South Carolina state committee in the late 80s that created an informational video for those interested in cemetery preservation; I did two ETV programs on cemeteries for SC in the early 1990s; I was one of the folks instrumental in getting a Cemetery ordinance passed by York County, SC (which stiffened and added to state protection laws); I headed up the Abandoned Cemetery Program in York County.
     I served on the state committee that reviewed publications state-wide (including many, many cemetery books) for annual awards; plus scouring through numerous cemetery books in many of the eastern states as well as in Scotland, Ireland, and Northern Ireland. The number of cemetery books I've looked through in the past twenty years literally numbers in the thousands. I must tell you that I have never seen any cemetery book sell out this fast. Generally cemetery books sit on the retail shelves for years before the supply is finally gone, with the last ones usually being given away as gifts of one sort or another.
     I can safely say that OCONEE HILL CEMETERY is hands-down, by far the most impressive, most informative, and just simply the best cemetery book I have ever seen!!! You should be extremely proud of this publication, which I'm sure that you are. This is probably the first cemetery book I've ever seen that could also serve as a coffee-table book. I am just completely blown away by this work. Congratulations!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  Sam Thomas, Curator
  T.R.R. Cobb House
  175 Hill Street, Athens, GA 30601
  706.369.3513 phone
  A historic property of Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc.




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