Zu­ber Ceme­tery to un­veil me­mo­rial plaque

Calhoun Times - - FRONT PAGE -

CAL­HOUN, GA — Fam­ily mem­bers will rec­og­nize Zu­ber Ceme­tery, lo­cated in the com­mu­nity of Shan­non, out­side Rome, as a sig­nif­i­cant part of Ge­or­gia his­tory by in­stalling a me­mo­rial plaque to honor it as a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to lo­cal his­tory.

An un­veil­ing cer­e­mony to com­mem­o­rate the event will be held Satur­day, Aug. 25, 2018 at Zu­ber Ceme­tery, fol­low­ing the an­nual clean up at the site. Speak­ers for the after­noon will in­clude fam­ily mem­bers of the en­tombed in graves at the site. Mem­bers of lo­cal his­tor­i­cal so­ci­eties and his­tor­i­cal preser­va­tion groups have been in­vited to par­tic­i­pate. The public is also wel­comed to share in and wit­ness this ex­cit­ing his­tor­i­cal event.

Solomon F. Boone, Jr., a de­scen­dant of fam­ily mem­bers buried in Zu­ber Ceme­tery, has been in­volved in pre­serv­ing the ceme­tery for more than a decade, working along­side his mother Dora Wat­ters Boone. “For some of those who are buried here, this is the only free­dom they have ever known. They la­bored to build Amer­ica and should never be for­got­ten. This plaque is just one step to­ward mak­ing sure they are all remembered.”

Boone is a de­scen­dant of Patsy Wat­ters who was en­slaved on the Wat­ters’ plan­ta­tion, “Her­mitage,” un­til she was freed from slav­ery at the end of the Amer­i­can Civil War. His grand­fa­ther, Will Wat­ters, Patsy’s son, bought land, farmed it and raised a fam­ily in Shan­non, and that is where his mother, Dora Wat­ters Boone grew up. She is now buried in Zu­ber Ceme­tery.

Ellen Wat­ters Sul­li­van, a de­scen­dant of Colonel Joseph Wat­ters who was a co-founder of the Rush Chapel when they pi­o­neered into North West Ge­or­gia in the early 1800s, will be in at­ten­dance. Her fam­ily built “Her­mitage,” a small plan­ta­tion on the Old Cal­houn High­way where he raised a fam­ily, farmed and served in var­i­ous com­mu­nity roles. His fam­ily was the slave holder of Boone’s great grand­mother, Patsy. “The story of North­west Ge­or­gia, in­deed of Amer­ica, is not com­plete with­out the story of those who were en­slaved here,” said Sul­li­van. “They are buried in this ground and should be given proper recog­ni­tion and dig­nity of proper up­keep of their fi­nal rest­ing places. It is an honor to be in­cluded in the ef­fort to re­store this his­tor­i­cal, sa­cred place.”

Sul­li­van re­cently joined the ef­fort to re­store and pre­serve Zu­ber Ceme­tery. “Working to­gether, we hope to bring com­mu­nity aware­ness of this site, along with other ceme­ter­ies and burial grounds in the area,” said Sul­li­van. “Nearby is Rush Chapel Ceme­tery, an­other sim­i­lar burial site for African Amer­i­cans that is also in need of preser­va­tion. These graves, some un­marked, may con­tain the re­mains of en­slaved. His­tory tells us they must. We hope to in­clude that site in our on­go­ing ef­forts.”

The preser­va­tion of Zu­ber Ceme­tery will ben­e­fit the en­tire com­mu­nity by ex­pand­ing lo­cal knowl­edge of the cul­tural her­itage and the rich lo­cal his­tory to in­clude those who were en­slaved, and whose ancestors still live in the area and through­out the United States. It is a way for de­scen­dants to lo­cate their ancestors and honor them in ways not pos­si­ble now. This plaque will help bring at­ten­tion to this com­mu­nity trea­sure.

The un­veil­ing will be­gin in the morn­ing with Berry College stu­dents par­tic­i­pat­ing in the an­nual cleanup, a project the College has been in­volved in for more than a decade. Boone, his sis­ter Bev­erly Boone Meek and Sul­li­van have reached out to lo­cal his­tor­i­cal so­ci­eties and to oth­ers in­volved in his­tor­i­cal preser­va­tion and will con­tinue to do so un­til the site re­ceives both Ge­or­gia His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety and Na­tional His­tor­i­cal recog­ni­tion. The ceme­tery is lo­cated on Wil­low Road NE in Shan­non.


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