The image above corresponds to the stations of the tour in the following pages. The narrative begins with an overview, then proceeds to describe six areas within the cemetery?
This overview from the Anna Craig Courtyard next to the south side of the church begins the tour of the cemetery
Our tour begins in the Anna Craig Courtyard, a brick and granite memorial to long-time Fairview member Anna Craig. Miss Craig passed away in 1980 at the age of 101, leaving the bulk of her estate to Fairview Presbyterian for the purpose of maintaining the cemetery. Looking south from the courtyard we see the Fairview Rose Garden. This garden is a memorial from Dr. Fred Moss to his great grandfather, James Russell, who built Fairview church in the 1820s. Dr. Moss, who passed away in 1966, is buried in the mausoleum at the side of the garden.
While there are two spots in the mausoleum, only one is taken. Dr. Moss's wife did not wish to be buried away from her family, and so when she passed away in 1989 she was buried in Augusta where her daughters live. James Russell is buried in a family plot just east of where we stand. Fairview sits on the same foundation and framing that Mr. Russell put in place in the 1820's. Fairview church dates from the early days of Gwinnett County. Members first came together in 1821, just three years after the founding of Gwinnett in 1818. Fairview was chartered as a Presbyterian church in 1823, the date recognized as the founding of this congregation, and the date from which all records begin. The first burial in the cemetery was William W. Carter, who died at the age of 14. Three of the thirteen founders of the church-Mary Reid, James Gresham, and Dr. William Russell-are also buried here. More than 500 people are buried in the Fairview cemetery, with the most recent burial occurring in June of this year. Originally the cemetery was surrounded by a stone wall, remnants of which can be found by the highway, near the spreading oak As you walk through the arbor into the cemetery, dates on the markers to the right range generally from the mid 1800s through the early 1900s. On the left the dates are a bit later, from the late 1800s to the 2000s. Further down the path, starting about where the first sidewalk branch occurs, dates are in the early to mid 1800s. On the left, the graves are older nearer the sidewalk then become newer toward the fence. The oldest graves are on the top of the hill. It seems that the founders began the cemetery there, and then moved toward the church following the ridge line. As space was used, the area beyond the hill, near the circle brick memorial, came into use. Some of the most recent burials are in that area.
To reach station 1 of the tour proceed through the arbor on the west side of the Anna Craig Courtyard.
Moving through the arbor, most of the graves to our right and left are from the late 1800s to the early 2000s. There are people from prominent Gwinnett County families, and people who had a long history with Fairview Presbyterian. To the right are people from the Craig, Huff, Kelley, and Williams families.
To the left are Huffs, Jacksons, Hustons, and again, Williams's. Robert T. Craig, to the right, is the grandson of the Robert Craig who was among the largest and most prominent landowners in the area. The Craig Plantation house still exists, on Five Forks Trickum Road. Craig holdings spanned upwards of 10 square miles. The senior Robert Craig did not attend Fairview, but his children and grandchildren did, and many are buried here. To the left, at the bottom of the hill, you will find the grave of Mary Ellen Williams, a lifelong member of Fairview and one of the longest tenured members in Fairview's history. Mary Ellen was born in 1915, passing away in 2005 at the age of 90. She was the first woman in the history of Fairview to hold church office, first as a Deacon, then as an Elder. She is buried with her parents, Frank Y. and Maude Williams, who were also members of Fairview for most of their lives. Mary Ellen was the great great granddaughter of Isham Williams, a pioneer in the county-a man who was one of the contractors who built the first major road in the area, a road which would eventually become Peachtree Road, and who also built the first county courthouse. Near there is buried Barnwell Anderson, who was Fairview's pastor from 1924 until 1931. You can imagine the changes many of these people saw in the span of their lives. When Rev. Barnwell Anderson was born, the country was in the grip of a civil war. Regular church services at Fairview had been suspended-there are no session notes, or notes of any kind, from those years. By the time he was 30 years old, the war had ended, Georgia had been readmitted to the Union, Atlanta had become the capitol of Georgia, the big brick courthouse in Lawrenceville had been completed, Georgia Tech had been established, and Rich's Dry Goods store had opened its doors in downtown Atlanta. Also, 26 of Fairview's 75 members, including most of the church officers, had left Fairview to charter Lawrenceville Presbyterian-that happened in 1891. A few years later, in 1904, the first phone was installed in the courthouse. Lawrenceville got a water system-Fairview got its water from a spring on the property. World War I came and went, and the road from Lawrenceville to Decatur was paved in 1923-one of the first paving projects in the county. The next year, Rev. Anderson became the pastor at Fairview-and also at Lawrenceville, since the two churches shared a pastor until 1959. The year Rev. Anderson turned 65, 1927, Charles Lindberg completed his transatlantic flight. Rev. Anderson oversaw Mary Ellen Williams's confirmation in 1928, beginning her path to becoming a 75 year member of Fairview. Traffic lights were installed on Crogan Street to accommodate the growing town. Toward the end of Rev. Anderson's life, talking movies came to Lawrenceville-that was in 1930. According to an ad in the paper, the Reverend could have picked up a new car that year for $585. Pretty amazing when you consider that when he was born, the only things that flew were birds and balloons, Matthew Brady was pioneering glass plate photographs in the Civil War, roads were travelled by horses and wagons and no one had any idea there would be pavement and motor driven vehicles.
Station 2 begins at the first sidewalk intersection heading east from the courtyard, then proceeds back toward the church, to left onto the circle. This area encompasses the area below the sidewalk and the area between the church and the eastern side of the circle sidewalk.
Some of the older graves in the cemetery are here as well as some of the more recent. The older sections are to the north in the circle walk, and to the south, looking toward the road. Here the dates are generally from the early to middle 1800s. A newer section is across the sidewalk to the northwest, nearer the church. Dates here are from the mid 1800s to the 1900s. First, let's talk about the section between the sidewalk intersection and the road. The large enclosed area is the resting place of the James S. Russell family. Mr. Russell, born in 1791, died in 1881 at the age of 90. One of Fairview's first members, he was well known for his mechanical and carpentry skills. Mr. Russell built Fairview in the late 1820's, hewing the framing, support timbers, and columns from the surrounding forest. Those timbers remain in place today. Inside the church, the columns supporting the ceiling and roof were turned from single trees. Mr. Russell also built the original Lawrenceville Presbyterian church, and the original Norcross Presbyterian Church, first called Goshen Church. Both of the latter buildings are long since gone. Mr. Russell is buried with his wife and several children. The Memorial Rose Garden was presented as a memorial to Russell by his great grandson, Dr. Fred Moss, who is buried in the mausoleum there. To the left of the Russell plot is a plot with the graves of one of the Jackson families. Five members of the family died in 1863-at this time we don't know what happened; only that it was wartime.Members of the Craig, Crow, and McGee families are buried on the north side of the sidewalk near the church. There are many members of the Craig family-31-buried at Fairview. William T. Craig is buried here, and his daughter Anna who died in 1980 at the age of 101. Anna Craig left much of her estate to Fairview, dedicated to the care of the cemetery. It is that money, left in trust, which provides for the maintenance of the church and cemetery grounds today. Also buried in this section are Daniel and Mary Byrd, third generation members of Fairview and prominent citizens of the county. People who are buried in the areas to the west of this section were truly pioneers. The Revolutionary War had only recently ended. The War of 1812 was part of many of their lives. Fort Daniel, in Hog Mountain, was built as a defense against the British and their Indian allies, as were other outposts in the area. Shadrack Green, buried here, lived through these times. Mr. Green was born in 1800. In the course of his life he was awarded a parcel of land in the land lotteries held after the Cherokee were removed from Georgia, fought in the Mexican War of 1846-1848, got married in 1855, had a son that same year, and died in 1864. During the span of his life, Mr. Green was governed by presidents beginning with John Adams, and ending with Jefferson Davis-Mr. Green died while the War Between the States was still being fought. Gwinnett County was founded when he was 19, Lawrenceville was chartered when he was 21, James Fenimore Cooper published his novel "The Pioneers" when Mr. Green was 23. And of course Fairview began its history that year. In 1831, when Mr. Green was 31, a very famous trial of several missionaries who had settled in Cherokee territory north of here made its way from Lawrenceville to the United States Supreme Court. One of the attorneys prosecuting part of the case was a Fairview member, Elisha Chester. The case is still studied in law schools today. Mr. Chester had a very interesting career in law and at Fairview-but space does not permit us to go into that here. A man directly affected by the ruling, Major George Waters, is buried not far from here. His life is discussed below. When Mr. Green was 37, a city by the name of Terminus was founded. It was so named because it was at the intersection of two railroads. These railroads soon became the backbone of commerce in the area and beyond. The city was soon renamed Marthasville after the Governor's daughter, and then in 1847 renamed Atlanta, again after the Governor's daughter, Martha Atalanta Lumpkin-or, depending upon whom you believe, as a short form of "Atlantica-Pacifica", the span of track envisioned by railroad executives of the time. The next year, 1838, the Cherokee were expelled from Georgia, beginning the journey known as the Trail of Tears. The land they vacated, not far north and west of here, had been surveyed and divided, and already distributed to settlers by lottery. Within a few months, lots were being occupied. Mr. Green was one of the thousands who received a parcel of that land. This cheap and generally fertile land contributed to an influx of people, and the growth of farms and plantations. By 1858, when Mr. Green was 58 years old, Georgia's population had risen to one million people-400,000 of whom were slaves. Just three years later, in 1861, Georgia seceded from the Union and the Civil War was on. Reverend W. C. Smith, Fairview's pastor, resigned and returned to his home in the Midwest. His name was stricken from Presbyterian Synod roles, and he was branded as "having gone over to the enemy." Three years later, Shadrack Green passed away, just four months before Atlanta fell to Union forces, a little less than a year before the war ended. He left behind a 9 year old son. We have no records of his wife, but his son remained here, was married in 1882, and died two years after that at the age of 29. The younger Shadrack Green is buried just down the hill from his father.
Station 3 begins at the top (north side) of the circle walk, then moves east to the corner and south about half way back to the main sidewalk. This includes the area within the circle and also to the east of the sidewalk.
Within this circle and to the east of it are some of the older graves in the cemetery. Also, some interesting stories. G. W. Craig, the son of patriarch Robert Craig, and the first of many generations of Craigs to attend Fairview, is buried here. Dr. William J. Russell, one of the founders of the church and one of the first physicians in Gwinnett County, is also here. Alford and Sarah Nesbit Williams are here-Alford is the son of Isham Williams, one of the county's early pioneers, mentioned elsewhere in these conversations. Also within the circle is the grave of George M. Waters. John A. Huff, Jr. is buried here, one of 24 of John A. Huff, Sr's. children. John Senior is buried nearby. Three wives, 24 children. On the outside of the sidewalk we find the final resting place of several people of note. The large raised monument is that of James Wardlaw, born in South Carolina in 1786, passing in 1836. Mr. Wardlaw was the first clerk of the Superior Court of Gwinnett County, elected in 1819. It was James Wardlaw who deeded the land for Fairview to the founding elders in 1823. Near Mr. Wardlaw lie the graves of Moses, Isabella, and Daniel Liddell. The Liddells were among the first members of Fairview, joining in 1826. They arrived from South Carolina as did many early members.Also buried in this area is Mr. William Thompson. According to records, he is a veteran of the Revolutionary War, but nothing more is known. The story of one man buried in this part of the cemetery serves as a sign of the times of this era, a time of pioneer spirit, transition, tragedy, greed, good will, and unintended consequences. Major George M. Waters was born in 1777 and died in 1852. According to some sources, his mother was half Cherokee. According to other sources, he married a Cherokee woman. Regardless, in the 1830s he was living in the Cherokee Nation, held land there, and was apparently a prosperous farmer. Generally lost in most history is the fact that many Cherokee of the 1830s were indeed farmers, living by the rule of law, under their own constitution, modeled in large part on the U. S. constitution. However, a series of treaties between the Federal government and the Cherokee, beginning in the 1700s, led to a gradual cession of land from the Cherokee to the Federal government. There were conflicting positions about this within the Cherokee nation, and in 1835 two rival Cherokee factions claimed the right to make treaties with the U. S. government. One group believed that survival of the Cherokee Nation rested in ceding Georgia land in exchange for money and western property; the other believed the Cherokee should remain and seek to retain their Georgia holdings through court action. As we know today, those who chose to remain eventually lost in court and were expelled from the state. Major Waters was a signatory on treaty documents for the group wishing to remain in Georgia. In 1838, when the Cherokee were sent west-this expedition was the Trail of Tears we have all heard of-everyone holding land as a Cherokee lost their right to the land. Treaties had transferred that property to Georgia as of the 1838 date. Georgia had already surveyed the land, divided it into lots awarded the lots in land lotteries. The treaties had also revoked rights of residence in the state to all Cherokee, even those married to or the children of white settlers. So, Major Waters lost his land, and his family lost their citizenship, almost forcing them to move west. They were saved that fate when the Georgia legislature exempted a certain few people from the loss of their citizenship. Major Waters's family received this exemption. He did lose his land, which was across the Chattahoochee in what is now north Fulton County. He had the right to buy it back, but it was very good land and the people who got it in the lottery wanted too much money for it. So, he bought a thousand acres on this side of the Chattahoochee, in Gwinnett County. He moved his family there, remaining on the land until he died. Waters was very prosperous, reportedly owning in addition to his extensive land holdings, some 100 slaves. An addendum to his life is that in his will he freed-depending upon whom you read, 37 or 41-of his slaves. This did not sit well with his heirs-in many cases slaves were more valuable than land-and they sued, claiming the language in the will was ambiguous about the number to be freed. The will was upheld by the Georgia Supreme Court, the slaves were freed, and due to vagaries of the law beyond the scope of this essay, were given money and clothing and transported to Liberia, on the coast of Africa. They did not do well there. Thirty died within the first year. The survivors found their way back to the U. S. and eventually to Georgia, and then back to the Waters plantation to live out their lives. In his three-quarters of a century Major Waters lived through the end of the Revolutionary War, was involved in the most contentious episodes of the transition from frontier to settlement, lost his property and nearly his family, rebuilt in a new place, was party to enslaving more people than anyone else in the area, freed more than anyone else in the area, and never knew the tragic result of his will's bequest.
Station 4 is the area near where the sidewalk splits into 3 directions.
Just up the hill are some of the oldest gravesites at Fairview. The first person buried in the cemetery, 14 year old William Carter, is here. Mary Reid, one of the founders of Fairview, is also nearby. Major John Alexander, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, is buried here, along with his wife, Elizabeth and his sons John and Thomas. Thomas, a physician in Lawrenceville, was one of the founders of Fairview. Dr. Alexander suffered an untimely death when he was returning home from a business trip to Atlanta, going through Decatur in a light horse-drawn carriage. As he entered the square in Decatur something frightened the horse. It charged across the square, throwing the carriage and Dr. Alexander into a tree. Dr. Alexander died of his injuries later in the day. Near the Alexanders are John and Mary Stuart. Mary Stuart, who died in 1879 at the age of 94, had been according to historical records a driving force in maintaining Fairview's Second Sunday traditions. In the early days of the church, the Second Sunday in August founders' celebration actually began on the Wednesday before the Second Sunday. On that day, the assembled members would clear the prior year's rubbish and overgrowth from the cemetery, and dress the graves. The day would begin with labor, followed at 11:00 with a sermon or prayer service from the pastor. After that, dinner. Then, back to the cemetery until the work was done. For many years Mrs. Stuart was one of the main taskmasters of the event. Also buried here is a son of William Montgomery, one of the Founders of Fairview, and his family. The people interred here lived and died in an age of growth and transition for this region. The country was young, only twenty or thirty years old. People were still figuring out how government worked. Today's Constitution had just been adopted in 1789, providing for a strong yet unproven central government. Georgia's western boundary extended all the way to the Mississippi River until 1802. Much of Georgia was inhabited by Creek and Cherokee Indians, and there was continual tension between settlers moving in and native populations already in place. The War of 1812 contributed to the unsettled conditions. The settlement of Hog Mountain, in the region where today's Highways 324 and 124 come together, was the western edge of white settlement at the time, and the place where the U. S. government built Fort Daniel, an outpost constructed to provide security against the British and their Indian allies. The road that Isham Williams and others built between Fort Daniel and Old Suwanee Town on the Chattahoochee River was built to provide a route for troops to travel, if need be, in the event of conflict. Ownership of the surrounding land was still being negotiated through treaties with Creek and Cherokee Indians. There was armed conflict as late as 1836. Creek raids on settlements near Columbus caused Governor William Schley to call for volunteers to travel there and fight. In Lawrenceville, the call was managed by the Justice of the Peace-John N. Alexander, of the Alexander family mentioned earlier. Three companies of volunteers from Gwinnett County were organized, one under the command of Hamilton Garmany, another member of Fairview. Garmany and his company proceeded to the area of conflict, arriving at Shepherd's Plantation, about 40 miles south of Columbus, on June 6. At this time Shepherd's Plantation was serving as a headquarters and camp for the army and militia battling the Indians. The battle between the Creeks and the militia broke out June 9th. Garmany's company at the time consisted of 42 men, 8 of whom were killed in the battle, 4 of whom were wounded, including Garmany and John Alexander. The battle was hard fought, with the Creeks eventually withdrawing. Garmany's troop returned to Lawrenceville with its fallen members. These men are buried in a common grave in the Lawrenceville Courthouse Square, beneath a large monument made of Georgia marble. The Creeks were routed soon after. The remaining men, women and children were, as with the Cherokee, placed into camps in Georgia and subsequently marched west to Oklahoma. In the area below the sidewalk you see a large monument for the Simmons family. One of the men buried there, James P. Simmons, was an attorney at mid-Century, practicing in Lawrenceville. Now the justices of the court in Lawrenceville had for years had a problem with traffic control in the courthouse square. After 30 years of this, they were tired of dealing with it. They hatched a plan to have four prominent attorneys in the area deal with it instead. Mr. Simmons was one of these attorneys. The traffic problem involved livestock which ran free in Lawrenceville, and were forever getting through the fence around the courthouse square. Imagine the scene-you are trying to get to court, but in making your way up the steps you find goats, cattle, hogs, and the various other things that you find with goats, cattle and hogs in your path. Apparently the fence kept falling down. The justices' plan was to make a deal with the four prominent lawyers. In exchange for a deed to corner property on the square and the right to build a brick office building there, the attorneys would agree to build and maintain a "good and substantial fence around the square." The attorneys agreed, and set out to build a proper fence. For the record, it didn't work. The lawyers couldn't keep the fence up, the justices just outlawed livestock on the square, and they took the land back from the lawyers.
Station 5 is at the top of the ridge on the eastern side of the cemetery, at the circle at the top of the sidewalk between the newer and older parts of the cemetery.
This is the area where the most recent burials have been. Most markers date from the late 1900s through the current time. Long time member Donald Young (D. Y.) Williams and his first wife Doris are buried here. D. Y. passed away in 2012 at the age of 90. Prior to his passing he was our oldest living member. Also interred in this area are Roland and Minnie Williams, and their children Larry, Phinizy, and Roland-cousins to D. Y. and Mary Ellen Williams. John and Gwynay Langley are buried here. Gwynay was sister to Larry, Phinizy, and Roland. While the span of history experienced by the people in this cemetery ranges from before the Revolutionary War until June of this year, it may be that no one saw more change and upheaval in their lives than the people resting here. For example, D. Y. Williams, who was at Fairview for his entire life, was born in 1922. By the time of his passing air travel had grown from Lindberg's single engine transatlantic flight in 1927 to the moon landing to space shuttle flights so routine most people didn't even know when there was a launch. He experienced the Great Depression, World War II, where he flew with the Army Air Force, the boom years beyond, the Korean War, the Civil Rights movement, the Viet Nam War and all the social turmoil that came with it, the Cold War, the thawing of the Cold War-and of course the events of life since then that most of us have experienced.D. Y. was also in the middle of remarkable change and growth in this community and Fairview Presbyterian. In conversations with people here at church he recalled that in his younger days the family travelled to church by horse and buggy. Church services were held once or twice a month, and were all day affairs. It took a long time to get here-especially when muddy roads made travel nearly impossible-and a long time to get home. The family would often stop by the river on the way home for a picnic lunch. Growing up, the church was heated by a pot bellied stove in the middle of the sanctuary. If you look up to the ceiling, you will see a square metal plate covering the hole where the chimney stack used to be. There was no electricity, either in the church or on the farm. D. Y. recalled that on summer evenings neighbors would come over to sit on the porch and listen to the radio shows on their battery powered radio. Electricity didn't come to Fairview until 1946. Church was a big part of life for people in the early and middle part of the century. D. Y. remembered leaving for the Army in 1942, reporting to Fort McPherson directly from church, the good wishes of the congregation still in his ears. He said when people were getting married, it was pretty much expected that the spouse-to-be would be introduced at church first. D. Y. was an instrumental part of Fairview's growth for 70 years. He served as a deacon and an elder. He served on the cemetery commission. He was involved in Sunday School. He was involved in building programs. He was here when the church made its first expansion-an annex built onto the back of the church for Sunday School rooms, a kitchen, and restrooms. That was in 1953. The annex is now our choir room and library. He and his sister Mary Ellen for years took care of the Rose Garden. (Mary Ellen once said that if you are going to donate a memorial, you should donate something that doesn't take as much upkeep as a Rose Garden.) D. Y. took part in the decision to hire our first full time pastor in 1959-a big step for a little church with just 97 members. He was part of the group that helped put the education building in place-ground was broken in 1963 at our 140th Homecoming Celebration. He was there in 1966 when the Presbytery prepared a comprehensive report about the area, leading to discussions that Fairview merge with Lawrenceville Presbyterian and turn Fairview's building and grounds over to the Presbytery. We're pretty sure he voted with the majority against that proposal. D. Y. was also on board in the 1980s, when the congregation decided to build the Fellowship Hall. In the space of a current lifetime, Fairview has changed from a little rough frame church in a forest glen, heated by a wood burning stove, lit by kerosene, cooled by nothing but the breeze, into a beautiful sanctuary in the middle of everything, blending modern convenience with the heritage and tradition begun when the first timbers were set in place nearly 190 years ago. D. Y. and the people resting here beside him are testament to what a community of people can do, a day at a time, progress going for the most part unnoticed except when we take the time to look back.
Station 6 is the circle monument on the eastern edge of the cemetery.
This monument, sidewalk, courtyard and benches are relatively recent additions to the cemetery, added in the 1980s. The memorial was intended to be, and has become, a place for contemplation and reflection. Easter Sunday Sunrise Services are held here-it's a remarkably peaceful place in the center of a very busy metropolis, a peaceful island in a rushing stream of traffic. Looking east, the cemetery rises from here and the road, following the ridge to the north until it reaches the church. There is a lot of history between here and there, a lot of people who have done a lot of things. Some of the monuments are easy to read, and we can know who they were and a little bit about them. Other monuments are very hard to read, so we have to work to know about them. And many monuments are completely faded-put in place as a timeless marker to honor people who now, because of time and weather, will always be anonymous. But the people here were remarkable, and helped move us forward one day, week, month, or year at a time, whether we know who they were or not. When the church and cemetery were founded, the area was frontier. Cherokee Indians held territory to the north, Creek Indians held territory to the south. As people lived their lives and looked to the future, the Federal Government and the Indian tribes were engaged in treaties and negotiations which determined the path of the people in the area to this day. As the Native Americans ceded territory, more settlers moved to Lawrenceville and Gwinnett County. In 1820 the region's first census noted 689 families in Gwinnett consisting of 4,741 white settlers, and 369 slaves. The county was eager to transform the remote territories into settled land. Between 1820 and 1835 there were 50 legislative orders related to laying out and constructing roads and bridges in Gwinnett County. A remarkable number of those orders named Fairview members buried here as road commissioners, designers, or builders. It was in 1838 that all territory in the state of Georgia was officially under the control of the state government, and all Native Americans were required to leave. Between 1820 and 1860 the area became quite prosperous. With land cheap and available, often through land grants, farming was a good business. Larger farms were worked by slaves, with some landowners having as many as 100. George Waters, the subject of a story in another of this narrative, was said to have that many. According to the census of 1850 there were 1,600 families in Gwinnett County. The total white population was 8,953. There were 2,294 slaves, or 20% of the population. Today, 842,000 people call Gwinnett County home. Of those, 60% are white, 26% are African American, 21% are Hispanic, 11% are Asian, and 0.9% are Native American. The church and community have seen much change. The cemetery serves as a timeline of the people who came here and built the community. This spot exists as a memorial to all of them as well as a place for the living to pause and perhaps consider their own lives in what has always been a busy and forward moving place.