Archive for the Category »Rock Springs Cemetery «

On 15 September 2009, I posted on my blog for Tombstone Tuesday On 17 November 2009, I wrote, again for Tombstone Tuesday, . On 2 February 2010, in observance of Black History Month, I posted on Tombstone Tuesday . These three posts were about my search for Rock Springs Cemetery the burial place of my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro, his brother Bob Toliver (aka Robert Taliaferro), and another relative Alex Poole. 

Those posts reflect the disappointments of the journey, but also my faith that one day I would find Rock Springs Cemetery.  Along the way, I talked to many experts and those knowledgeable in cemeteries in the metro Atlanta area; none of them knew anything about Rock Springs-had never heard of it. I contacted the Georgia Archives and several local Historical Societies, but no luck. I was advised to give up.  They felt the cemetery was gone, most likely lost to progress. But, I could not let go.  Something kept nagging at me- a strong feeling that it was out there somewhere, and one day I would find it. Well, that day is finally here, and I am filled with a sense of peace and satisfaction that I have finally found Rock Springs Cemetery.

On Wednesday, 25 August 2010, I received a tweet which said – “I know where Rock Spring cemetery is located. My relatives are buried there.” I could not believe what my eyes were seeing. I had waited for, prayed for, hoped for this moment. Quickly, I sent a direct message back with my email address.  “PLEASE contact me!”  I waited.

On Thursday afternoon, 26 August 2010, I received an email inquiring if I was really interested in finding Rock Springs Cemetery.  Really interested??  Are you kidding me? That was an understatement if I ever heard one. The sender also gave me their surname which I knew from my research belonged to some of the people buried in Rock Springs.  My excitement was growing; this just might be the real deal. OMG!!!  Anxiously, I emailed back with a few more details about my interest in Rock Springs and my relatives who are buried there.  I waited.

Later in the day I received another email asking whether I was from Atlanta, and telling me that “if we are on the same page” Rock Springs Cemetery was in Forest Park, GA. YES!!! Same page, same paragraph, same sentence, same place…Rock Springs Cemetery. Chills up my spine…goose bumps!!  This was great news, but WHERE in Forest Park, GA??

I frantically emailed back. “Yes, from Atlanta…, live here now…, born and raised. My brother and I have traveled up and down Jonesboro Road, including the Forest Park area, up and down the side streets too, many, many times. Very excited…really appreciate you contacting me. Can you PLEASE give me the location of Rock Springs Cemetery?” I waited…and waited..and waited.

Friday, 27 August 2010. I don’t remember sleeping, but I must have ‘cause I remember waking up. I decided not to check my email first thing, just in case there was no response.  I did a few other things then casually opened my email….la de da.  A quick glance..nothing.  My heart sank. Exhale.  Another glance, and there it was with the subject line – Directions to Cemetery.  My brother was dressed and ready in his “cemetery exploring” clothes with camera in hand before I could finish reading the directions, and sending out a quick thank you email.

The directions were incredibly easy to follow.  In no time we were there…off the interstate, three lights, a right,  pass the cement wall and there it was…the dirt road leading into Rock Springs Cemetery…on Conley Road in Forest Park, GA. There are no signs or markers pointing “this way” to Rock Springs, but there it is.

On the day of our visit, Rock Springs was overgrown with weeds and littered with limbs and debris. However, my contact (who I won’t name for privacy reasons) informs me that this is not the normal condition of the cemetery.  The cemetery was cleaned to perfection in early Spring, and what we witnessed on our visit was  new vegetation that has grown in since that time.  A lawn service is scheduled to come for another clean-up very soon.  Once the clean-up is done, I’ll be sure to post updated pictures.  It’s great to know that this historic African American cemetery is loved and has not be forgotten.

I now know some of the history of Rock Springs Cemetery; two acres were purchased for the cemetery by my contact’s ancestor, it was deeded in 1893, and it is also known as Macedonia Cemetery. I have seen that name in my research, but never made the connection to Rock Springs.  I know that a relative buried their infant son in Macedonia, and I thought it interesting that he was not buried at Rock Springs, but he actually was I just didn’t know. Talk about pieces of the puzzle coming together. It’s funny how you know more than you think you know, but you don’t know that until you find out what you don’t know.  Does that make sense?!?

As many times as my brother and I traveled Jonesboro Road, and even Conley Road, for some reason we never turned down that end. Each time we would ride around searching I kept saying “I think we’re missing something..I think we’re missing something.” It’s amazing. I guess things don’t happen until it’s time. (Or, maybe I am guilty of not conducting a reasonably exhaustive search.) Whatever the reason, I guess the ancestors thought it was time for us to find Rock Springs Cemetery. 

I am sure there are over 100 graves in the cemetery, but we did not find a headstone or marker for my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro, his brother Bob Toliver (aka Robert Taliaferro), or Alex Poole.  There were no Taliaferros, Tolivers or Pooles among the many readable headstones.  It would be a lie to say that I was not a little sad at not finding physical evidence that my ancestors are buried here.  We always want that final piece of proof; the one thing that undeniably confirms “this is the right place”. 

Surprisingly, that does not tarnish what I consider a great victory in my research. This is an incredible blessing from my ancestors. Not finding evidence of them does not diminish the thrill of the hunt. One more brick wall has come down. There are headstones for some of the other people I know from my research are buried at Rock Springs, and that I listed in my post Rock Springs Cemetery- Lest I Forget. I will have to use them as proof, along with other circumstantial evidence, that this is the same Rock Springs Cemetery where my ancestors were laid to rest.  I know in my heart that it is.

Last year I wrote about my search for , the burial place for my great grandfather John Wesley Taliaferro, his brother Bob Toliver, and Alex Poole another relative whose relationship remains undetermined. I am still trying to confirm the exact location of the cemetery. I thought if I found others who were buried at the cemetery their records might give some clue to the location. I did find other burials, but all that’s stated on these death certificates is the name “Rock Springs” – no exact location. In my November 2009 post I promised to find and honor others buried in Rock Springs Cemetery, specifically those who lived in the same communities as my ancestors. I have searched through hundreds of Georgia death certificates available online in the . So far I have found 15 persons, including my ancestors, whose death certificate indicates the burial place was Rock Springs Cemetery. Not a very large number, but I am proud. I wish I could identify with certainty their burial place. Maybe it is the Rock Springs Cemetery in Henry County, McDonough, GA that was the subject of my November 2009 post. It seems the most likely candidate. Yet, none of these names appear on any of the headstones. There is no finality. Maybe their remains are covered by the soil, weeds, and grass of the many unmarked graves. Maybe they lay beneath the graves marked only with a crude rock or stone. I picked this photo because of the little pink and white flower to the right of the stones that just happened to be there the day of my visit.  Maybe it was a sign that someone was buried there…Maybe he was…Maybe she could be…Maybe they are… Maybe….Maybe… Maybe….

Here, at the beginning of Black History Month, it seems an appropriate time to honor those buried in Rock Springs Cemetery. No, they are not the “typical” persons we think of during Black History Month. But, that does not diminish their importance as people- as African Americans who shared our history, our culture, our struggle. Each was someone’s child, and probably a mother or father, sister or brother. Some were most likely friends and neighbors. East Point and Hapeville were and still are neighboring communities here in the Atlanta metro area. No doubt some were probably related-Davis…Jackson…Wilson. Definitely, others were-Taliaferro…Toliver…Poole. All were God’s children who lived, loved, laughed, cried, and died. Gone, but remembered and loved by somebody, somewhere:

*DAVIS (née Ross), Mary Alice (d. 1926) East Point, GA


*DAVIS, James A. (D. 1926) East Point, GA


*DORSEY, Dennis (d. 1922) Atlanta, GA


*FULLER (née Jackson), Lizzie (d. 1925) East Point, GA


*JACKSON, Marry C. (d. 1923) East Point, GA


*JACKSON (née Johnson), Cornelia (d. 1925) Atlanta, GA


*JACKSON, Mary (d. 1927) East Point, GA


*POOLE, Alex (d. 1923) East Point, GA


*ROSS (née Jackson), Dollie J. (d. 1927) East Point, GA


*SEAGRAVES, Rueban J. (d. 1922) East Point, GA


*TALIAFERRO, J W (d. 1922) East Point, GA


*TOLIVER, Bob (d. 1920) East Point, GA


*WILSON, Ison (d. 1921) Hapeville, GA


*WILSON, Robert (d. 1923) Hapeville, GA

*WILSON, William (d. 1926) Hapeville, GA

Maybe someone will happen upon this post and reclaim their long lost ancestor.  THIS IS MY PRAYER.

These are photos of the cemetery at Rock Springs Baptist Church located in McDonough, Henry Co., GA. This is an active African American Church and Cemetery. Sadly, there are numerous graves marked only with stones, others with unreadable funeral home markers and, of course, many with no markers at all.

My search for the burial place of my great grandfather, John Wesley Taliaferro, has become somewhat of an obsession. I have this nagging feeling that just will not go away; I know that cemetery is out there somewhere just waiting for me to find it. My ancestors’ Taliaferro slave owners and their collateral families lived and owned land in the McDonough, Henry Co., GA area along Jonesboro Road. Some of my ancestors were born in Henry Co., and many lived on Jonesboro Road, so this cemetery was a real possibility for the burial place of my ancestors. Unfortunately, the transcription for this cemetery did not contain the names of any of my ancestors. Other than the cemetery transcription, I have not found any records on the church or cemetery. A trip to the Georgia Archives did not produce any additional information. I am searching for something to connect my Taliaferro ancestors to this church/cemetery.

In September 2009, I posted My brother Bernard and I thought we had found “the” Rock Springs Cemetery, but we were wrong. According to their death certificates, John Wesley, his brother Bob Toliver (aka Robert Taliaferro), and another relative Alex Poole (exact relationship undetermined) were buried at Rock Springs Cemetery. Recently, I discovered that several of their neighbors were also buried there; they are Ison Wilson, Robert Wilson and William Wilson. I’m not sure if my Taliaferros are related to these Wilsons, but you know I’m checking into that as well. So far I have found six people who are buried at Rock Springs Cemetery, including my ancestors.

 
 

Unintentionally, I think I have made finding this cemetery, and honoring all those who are buried there, one of my research goals. It just doesn’t seem right that these six people, and probably many others are buried in this cemetery and no one knows (or cares) where it is, or who they are. I hope to find out. Wish me luck in my quest.

I have been searching for the burial place of my great grandfather, John Wesley Taliaferro, for months. According to his death certificate John Wesley is buried in Rock Springs Cemetery. Also buried there is his brother Bob Toliver and another relative Alex Poole. This summer I thought I had found Rock Springs Cemetery at the end of a residential street off Old Jonesboro Road in Clayton County, GA. Many of my relatives lived along Jonesboro Road. Someone who has lived in the area for a long time even stated that it was Rock Springs Cemetery. Boy, was I excited. So, my brother walked around and snapped some pictures. Unfortunately, there were no names that I recognized. Also, many of the graves were marked only with stones. Since then further research indicates that this is not Rock Springs Cemetery, but Elam Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery. I have also been told that there are probably no African American graves at this cemetery. I’m still researching, and continue my search for Rock Springs Cemetery.