Historic Baptist Cemetery, Powder Springs, 1840

The Baptist Cemetery was established in 1840 and is the oldest cemetery in Powder Springs. It is located downtown on the corner of Jackson Way and Pineview Drive.

The earliest marked burial is dated 1840 and is that of the infant daughter of W. Jaud Kiser, one month and 26 days. Her mother was Nancy Kiser.

According to “The History of the First Baptist Church of Powder Springs, GA” by Virginia Tapp, the Springville Baptist Church building “stood on the edge of the Baptist Cemetery on a hill just off the Old Lost Mountain Road. The lot was donated by Mr. D. R. Turner”. The First Baptist Church was originally named the Springville Baptist Church which was originally part of the Primitive Baptist Church in Powder Springs.

In the Baptist Cemetery are buried a number of the pioneer families of Powder Springs. There are Butner’s, Baggett’s, Compton’s, Goodwin’s, Hardy’s, Kiser’s, Landrum’s, Lindley’s, Ragsdale’s, Rice’s and more. Some were merchants of various trades, others were farmers, pastors, doctors and just regular town folks.

Elijah Ragsdale (1798-1858) was one of six charter members of the Springville Baptist Church. Reverend Parker M. Rice (1801-1853) was the first pastor of the Springville Baptist Church. Della Boswell Kuykendall (1875-1963) was the first telephone exchange night operator in Powder Springs for nine years.

There are several Veterans from various wars buried here, also. War of 1812 – Elijah Ragsdale (1778-1858) and James F. Blackstock, Jr. (1789-1852). War Between the States (American Civil War) – Joseph K. Moon, CSA, (1820-1870). Spanish American War – David B. Lindholm (1872-1914).World War II – Florence W. Neese (1917-1989) and Arthur Parks (1918-1953). Vietnam – Kenneth Lamar Newton (1945-2016).

The last burial was in 1979 until 2002, 2015, 2016 with one each.

There is a large open area in the Cemetery that does not have any markers that would identify graves in the area. However, the indentions in the earth appeared to indicate that there were burials here. In 2017 The Seven Springs Historical Society took on a project to have this area studied to help determine if there were actually unmarked graves in this area of the Baptist Cemetery.

The Historical Society contracted with Omega Mapping Services in December of 2017 to have this area surveyed by using ground penetrating radar. In January 2018, Len Strozier of Omega Mapping Services came out and did this survey. Several members of the Historical Society met Len at the Cemetery.

In the process he identified 135 unmarked graves, marking them with orange flags. Some of the graves were buried deeper than usual indicating much earlier burials than 1840 and could possibly be Indian Burials. Powder Springs has a history of Cherokee and Creek tribes living in the area. Numerous artifacts have also be found verifying their presence.

Len has provided the Historical Society and the Seven Springs Museum with maps and a CD with his findings. These maps mark the spots where burials are located. Once the Historical Society received these maps, Holland Supply was then contacted about ordering these markers.

The Historical Society then purchased 135 lot markers from Holland Supply. These markers are 3½ inch stainless steel discs and 10 inch zinc coated carriage bolts or pins.

In late March of 2018, several members of the Historical Society met at the Cemetery and installed these markers. The markers lie flat on the ground and will not interfere with the normal maintenance off the Cemetery. They can later be located by metal detectors.

The Seven Springs Historical Society plan to place a marker recognizing that these 135 burial sites are now identified and marked for future generations. The Society also plans to erect a sign identifying the Cemetery as the Baptist Cemetery.

Photos by Stan Kaady

Author: curator

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