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Disinterment decision due tonight

The county commission is to decide on the removal of interred remains from the historic Wadsworth Cemetery to Greenwood Cemetery to make room for industrial expansion at a called meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. at the courthouse. Descendants have mounted a last-minute effort to stop the project. Grave markers in the cemetery were reportedly removed by a previous landowner years ago. An historical survey of the site, commissioned by the city, indicated at least 104 graves on the hilltop. A visitor noted some 140 graves years ago. Opinions are divided on whether the site contains the mass grave of multiple victims of a Civil War train crash on nearby Lavender’s Curve that occurred in September 1864 during the Battle of Jonesboro. Barnesville has owned the property, which contains over 126 acres, since 1996. It is known as the Meadow Railway industrial site. The land is located in the county so the commission is tasked with granting the grave relocation permit. It is unclear if the commission will entertain public comment at the meeting. It conducted a heavily attended public hearing on the matter last month and delayed its vote. The county has three choices: grant the permit, grant it with conditions or deny the request. The cemetery was founded by Archibald Wadsworth, one of the earliest settlers of this area, in the early 1800s. Descendants say the cemetery contains graves of members of the Wadsworth and Clayton families, slaves, native Americans and the train crash victims and should be protected as an historic site. The city retained Southern Research Historic Preservation Consultants of Waverly Hall to do the archeological survey. If approved, the removal and relocation of remains is expected to take five to eight weeks and will be handled by the firm which specializes in this type work.

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