It may sound a little strange, but one of the best places to see “the rites of spring” is at the Oakland Cemetery near downtown Atlanta! Not only a cemetery, it is a living garden, Victorian in style, spanning 88 acres.
Oakland Cemetery is the final resting place of gallant Civil War soldiers, Atlanta dignitaries, and just plain, ordinary folks. It is estimated that 70,000 people are interred at Oakland. Serving as sentry over the hallowed grounds of the Confederate section of the cemetery is the Lion of Atlanta. The Ladies Memorial Association commissioned T. M. Brady of Canton, Georgia, to create a monument to the unknown Confederate war dead buried in Oakland Cemetery. The sculpture was commemorated on April 26, 1894. The inspiration for the Lion of Atlanta was Bertil Thorvaldsen’s colossal Lion of Lucerne (Switzerland), which Mark Twain called “the most mournful and moving stone in the world.
”Eleven Daughters and one HODAR (husband of DAR) from the Philadelphia Winn Chapter NSDAR in Lawrenceville visited Oakland Cemetery recently. You might ask why the Daughters of the American Revolution would be so interested in a cemetery whose original purpose was for fallen soldiers of the Civil War? Of course, that would be their avid interest in genealogy and history from every era! Their founding principles have not changed for 126 years: historic preservation, patriotism, and education. Many of their own ancestors are Civil War Patriots whose great-grandfathers were American Revolutionary War Patriots.
Interesting stories abound from the “residents” at Oakland. One of many is Jasper “Jack” Smith, often referred to as ‘Atlanta’s quaintest character.’ Mr. Smith had an aversion to neckties, earning him the modern moniker “The No Necktie Guy.” Guests to Oakland Cemetery come away with new “nuggets” of information each time they visit!
The group enjoyed their time in the garden cemetery and finished up their tour at the Six Feet Under Restaurant, across the street, for a delicious lunch!
Philadelphia Winn Daughters (and one HODAR) who attended were: Marilyn Johnson, Miriam Machida, Michelle Grudzien, Vivian Wiegand, Don Wiegand, Historian Randi Minor, Rene Weilbrenner, Pat Davis, Kathy Lobe, Joyce Howard, Cindy Gaskins, and Corresponding Secretary Lee Schermerhorn.
For more information regarding the Philadelphia Winn Chapter of the NS-DAR, please visit our website at: philadelphiawinn.georgiastatedar.org