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New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery About 1889

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery is located on Brownsville Road in Powder Springs and adjacent to the New Hope Missionary Baptist Church.

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church was established in 1867 after the Civil War when the blacks were led by the spirit of Christ to look for new hope in their religious life separated from the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church which was a white membership church. They worshiped under a brush arbor for three years before a church site was obtained. Once a site was obtained and the donation of a barn was made to them by Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, a plank church was built. It is the oldest black membership church in Powder Springs.

Part of the property was set aside to be used as a cemetery for the families of their church.

The earliest marked burial is dated June 10, 1889 and is that of Tom Middlebrooks who was born June 18, 1885. He was three years old.

The next burial is dated November 12, 1891 and is that of ReverendC. B. Rucker who was born on January 17, 1834. Reverend Rucker was the Founder of the Friendship Baptist Sunday School Convention.

On September 15, 1894 Sterling Penn was laid to rest. Mr. Penn was born on February 8, 1876.

In the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery are buried some of the faithful members of their church and the community in which they lived.

They came to help settle the area, farm, open and operate businesses, work and live in Powder Springs. Some are Veterans who served in the Military during war and peace times. Many were also Pastors, Deacons, Deacon’s wives who served their church and community well through the years. Others worked for or labored on the Railroad.

A few of the family names buried here are Austin’s, Florence’s, Hunt’s, Middlebrooks’, Penn’s, Radford’s, Waldon’s, Ware’s, Watts’, Weddington’s, Young’s and more.

Pastors: Rev. Christine Penn Brooks (1926–2009) daughter of Luke Penn (1889-1969) and Charity Young Penn (1896-1962). Rev. J. H. Glaze (? – 1971). Rev. Samuel Hembree (1920-1993). Rev. Grover McKey (1909- 1972) Veteran of World War II serving as a GA PVT. Rev. Alexander A. Penn (1843-1931) father of Luke Penn (1889-1969) and husband of Bunch Penn (1853-1937).

Rev. Alexander A. Penn (1893-1960) a moderator of the Friendship Association.

Deacons: H.W. Waldon (1903-1990). C. J. (or G. J) Weddington (1900-1993). John Holcomb (? – 1975). Grover C. Watts, Sr. (? – 1961). Samuel C. Young (1888-1939). Grady Arnold (1906-1971). Dud Florence (1875-1953). Will Waldon (1875-1950). C. W. Weddington (1876-1971).

Trustees: M. (Melvin) Bostic (1929-2003). R. (Rufus) Ware, Jr. (1943-2013). William Watts (1936-1998) coached baseball for both girls and boys with his brother Lionel. O.L. (Ottis Lamar) Watts (1929-1978) was a Veteran of Korea serving as a SP3 – USA.

Harvey Young (1929-1986) at one time owned ‘The Cafe’ in the flats during the late 1940’s to 1986. Mr. Young was also a sponsor of the Clarkdale Eagles Baseball Team for many years.

Archie Watson Young (1917-2001) was active in the church serving as a Deacon and working in the children’s educational programs and activities. Mr. Young was a former Atlanta Black Crackers baseball player. His first job (at 14) was at the Coats and Clark Thread Mill Factory. He later worked as a Porter at Southern Railway, retiring after 37 years of service. Mr. Young would take time off to continue to play with the baseball league. However, in 1937, after the Atlanta Black Crackers joined the Negro American League and won the second-half title of the split season that year, Young chose to quit the team following an ultimatum from his superiors at Southern Railway. He continued to play baseball for semi-professional teams in Powder Springs into his 30’s. He umpired high school games and taught baseball to children at his church. Young once served as a vice president of the Cobb County branch of the NAACP in the 1980’s. The NAACP honored Mr. Young as at the winner of the Elder Youth Achievement Award in 2001 not long before he passed away.

Luke Penn (1889-1969) was a longtime custodian at the Powder Springs Elementary School. A meeting room at the Powder Springs Library is named in his honor for his service to the school and community.

Sisters Rena (1906-2001) and Ethel Clark (1913-1993) started a popular local baking business producing fried pies, regular pies and cakes. Rena’s daughter (and Ethel’s niece), Willie G. Watts, learned to make fried pies to carry on the tradition.

Ethel Clark also helped establish and build the Church of God in Christ which was located on Long Street in Powder Springs.

Melvin Austin (1922-1966) played baseball with the Clarkdale Eagles. He went on to play semi-professional baseball with the Atlanta Black Crackers. Mr. Austin was also a Veteran of World War II in the US Army.

Agnes Mae Walden Austin (1883-1960) and Pocious Armour White (1876-1953) were both midwifes to the black and white communities.

Bartow Edward “Edd” Griggs (1870-1954) a grave digger.

Christopher B. Evans (1878-1963) was a longtime principal of one of the early black schools located across the Seaboard Railroad on Old Lost Mountain Road during the 1890’s and early 1900’s. His wife, Rosebud H. Evans (1887-1949), was his assistant teacher.

Lionel Watts (1929-1986) played professional baseball for the Georgia Cracker League. He was recognized by the National Baseball Congress of America as an all-star player for several years. In 1969 they selected him for the All-League Baseball Team for the Georgia Cracker League honoring him with a Certificate of Merit. Mr. Watts also coached baseball for both girls and boys with his brother William. He was a Deacon in his church.

Hattie White (1900-1993) was a beloved member of the community best known for her Easter Egg Hunts. It was a community event each Easter that brought family and friends in the neighborhood together. She hid the eggs.

When Long Street was divided into lots in the early 1950’s, the deed book recorded it as the Minnie Holcomb Subdivision, who was a longtime resident there. Minnie Holcomb passed away in 1950.

There are also numerous Veterans from various wars buried here. These are only a few of those Veterans. A “Thank You” always to all our Veterans no matter when or how they served their country whether it be in war time or peace time.

World War I – Archie Tate (1898-1966) GA PVT USA; Matthew Florence (1892-1976) CPL USA; Watson Young (?-1934) GA PVT 5-14 Engrs.;
Bud McCoy (?-1944) GA PVT 54-9 Sev BN Engrs Corps; Frank Hallman (1886-1947) NYMA 1C USNR1; Eliza Wall (1894-1981) PVT USA; Lucius Ellington (1894-1917) GA PFC 826 Co TC; Early Holcomb (1896- 1947) PFC 53-9 Engrs and Alexander Penn (1893-1960) GA CPL CoC 441 Res Labor BN OMC.

World War II – William C. Moss (1919-2006) STMI US Coast Guard; Edward Stiles (1907-1976) USA; George Florence (1912-1960) GA TEC 4 USA; Carlee Alexander (1915-1979) TEC 5 USA; brothers Comer L. Austin (1923-1977) PVT USA and Leroy Austin (1917-1968) USA; Willie F. Brackins (1913-1993) USA; Samuel T. McClarin (1903-1992) USA; Charles Augustine Meeks (1927-1998) US Army; James Slack (1919- 1992) 1st LT US Army and Forrest Holcomb (1914-1979) CPL USA.

Korea – Andrew Jackson Austin (1930-2005) USA; Emerson Phillips (1927-1980) PFC USA; Willie Clarence Clark (1927-1979) SP3 USA; Andrew Jackson Penn (1929-1972) Sgt GA 23 AAA BN; Amos C. Barnes (1929-1984) USA; Benjamin F. Penn (1935-1980) CSI USN; Cornelius Walts (1930 1997) PVT US Army and Archie Watson Young, Jr. (1934- 1983) US Air Force.

Vietnam – Clifford J. Robinson (1954-1981) USA; William Dewey Clark (1948-2000) USA and Fred E. Reed (1945-1983) PFC US Army.

Other Veterans – Henry Waldon, Jr. (1932-2016) SGT US Army; Otis Waldon, Sr. (1933-2013) SGT US Army; Willie James Wiley, Jr. (1987- 2008) PFC US Army and Perry Harold Clonts (1951-1993) CPL USA.

All those buried here have, in some way, all through their lives and their families, helped make their communities a better place to live for all generations.

The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery currently has approximately 480 to 500 graves. The Cemetery is still in use today in 2019.

Note: Information on the history of the church, community and its people were taken from “The New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 1867 – 1976, 1st Annual Souvenir Book” published by the church in 1976 and “Powder Springs Has Some Deep Roots In It” an Oral History……” published in 2009 by the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA. Some information came from interviews and research done through the years by Sarah Frances Miller, Virginia Tapp and Patti Briel. All this information and copies of these books are on file with the Seven Springs Historical Society at the Seven Springs Museum.

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