By Walter GeigerA public hearing on the relocation of at least 103 graves from the historic Wadsworth-Clayton Cemetery on Old Zebulon Road to Greenwood Cemetery in Barnesville has been set for May 15 in Lamar superior court.The City of Barnesville is seeking a permit to relocate the graves from 126 acres it owns to clear the way for industrial expansion – likely that of forest products operations in the adjacent industrial park. The city claims the cemetery is abandoned. The legal notice reads in part, ‘any interested party or citizen may appear and be given an opportunity to be heard’¦’. The hearing will begin at 1 p.m. with Judge Tommy Wilson presiding. Judge Wilson will hear legal arguments from both sides and then take public comments. He will likely take the matter under advisement and issue a decision on a permit at a later date.The controversy first reared its head last summer when the city applied to the county commission for the relocation permit which it was granted by a narrow 3-2 vote taken July 13, 2017. Two direct Wadsworth descendants, Mike Ross and Cynthia Wadsworth, appealed in Fulton County superior court, arguing the proper place to seek the permit was Lamar superior court. Fulton County Judge John Goger ruled in their favor Feb. 9.The cemetery was established by Archibald Wadsworth, one of the original settlers of this area. A previous land owner removed all the headstones for some unknown reason decades ago. The city has owned the land for 20 years. It is now known as the Meadow Railway industrial site.Nearby is Lavender’s Curve where two trains collided as the Battle of Atlanta was winding down on Sept. 1, 1864, killing at least 31 people. Also at dispute is whether or not those dead were buried in the nearby Wadsworth family plot.Legal notice of the hearing appears in the 5.1.18 print edition of The Herald Gazette.
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