Genealogists and local history fans alike are sure to enjoy a guided walking tour of Athens' historic Oconee Hill Cemetery, offered by the Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society and the Athens-Clarke County Library Heritage Room. The walking tour will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, and will be led by noted local historian and author Charlotte Thomas Marshall. A special welcoming exhibition at the Sexton's House near the cemetery's entrance will be open starting at 1:30 p.m. During the tour, Marshall will discuss the history of Oconee Hill Cemetery in relation to the history of earlier American cemeteries; burial practices; mortuary art with much explanation of Victorian symbolism; explanations of the kinships of early Athens families and brief biographies of numerous people who shaped 19th century Athens. The walk will cover sections on the west side of the river in the old part of the cemetery and will not include the 80 acres which opened in 1900 on the east side of the river. Listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Oconee Hill Cemetery encompasses 100 acres of tranquil landscape behind the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium off East Campus Road, on the banks of the North Oconee River. It was purchased by the city of Athens in 1855. In 1856, the city formed a self-perpetuating Board of Trustees to hold and manage in trust the original purchase of 17 acres on the west side of the North Oconee River as a public cemetery for the benefit of the town. The cemetery's design is characteristic of garden cemeteries, which were popular in Georgia and throughout the nation by the middle of the 19th century. These cemeteries feature meandering roads that follow the cemetery's natural topography, ornamental plantings, and delineated family plots. Charlotte Thomas Marshall is the author of Oconee Hill Cemetery of Athens, Georgia, Volume I,
published by the Athens Historical Society in 2009 and recipient of Athens-Clarke Heritage
Foundation's 2010 Outstanding Publication Award. Two more volumes are in progress. Her other publications include Glimpses Into the Antebellum History of the First Baptist Church, Athens, Georgia (1981) and Historic Houses of Athens (1987). With her husband, Dr. George O. Marshall, Jr., she edited Susan Frances Barrow Tate's Remembering Athens in 1996. She was a contributor to Gary Doster's A Post Card 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. Charlotte was recognized by the Georgia Genealogical Society in 2008 for outstanding contributions to the field of genealogy. She is presently contributor/editor/publisher of The Tangible Past in Athens, Georgia, a compilation of 18 essays by over a dozen lovers of Athens history; it will be released later in 2014. The walking tour is free, but registration is required. Call (706) 613-3650, ext. 350 to register. Comfortable walking shoes are recommended. In the event of rain, a program will be held in the library's Multipurpose Room A. This event is co-sponsored by the Clarke-Oconee Genealogical Society and the Athens-Clarke County Library Heritage Room. The Athens-Clarke County Library is located at 2025 Baxter Street, Athens. For more information about the library's programs and services, log on to www.athenslibrary.org/athens.
No admission charge, please call to register