Zuber Cemetery to unveil memorial plaque
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.