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City plans to relocate graves from industrial site

By Walter Geiger A public hearing is scheduled for June 20 at the Lamar County courthouse on a request by the City of Barnesville to relocate approximately 103 graves from an industrial site off Old Milner Road to Greenwood Cemetery. The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. The Industrial Development Authority currently has an industrial prospect that requires 90 acres where the cemetery is located. ’The city has owned the property for about 20 years. We have had prospects through the years that have shown interest in the site but the cemetery hinders development,’ city manager Kenny Roberts said. Known as the Wadsworth Cemetery, the site has no gravestones. Legend has it that a previous landowner removed them all and that they are under a house in Barnesville or were used as a patio at a home here. For years, stories have been perpetuated that victims of a horrific Civil War train wreck in nearby Lavender’s Curve are buried on the site. In the early morning hours of Sept. 1. 1864 a train pulled by the engine Dispatch left the Battle of Atlanta and headed southbound loaded with wounded soldiers. It collided in the curve with a northbound supply train pulled by an engine known as the Governor. Some 31 were killed and many more wounded. The cemetery in question is atop a hill northeast of the crash site. ’Based on the information we have, the cemetery is that of the Wadsworth family and probably includes the Civil War casualties of the train wreck,’ Roberts said. Multiple Confederate hospitals were located in the Barnesville-Milner area at the time of the Battle of Atlanta. Local historian Shanna English counters that all the train wreck casualties were brought to Barnesville for burial. She said those buried on the hill are from the Wadsworth, Jones and Clayton families. English is currently working on a booklet about the train wreck and has compiled extensive information on it, including the accounts of both engineers. ’It was a terrible crash but there are no Confederate dead buried on the hill. That is a myth,’ English concluded.

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