It went unnoticed in a grove of trees and thorny plants for years, tucked next to the city’s sewage spray field.
Now Hogansville officials and members of the Troup County Historical Society are looking for people who may have a connection to someone buried in the lost cemetery.
When the spray field was built in the early ’90s, the city put a barbed wire fence up around it. The area around the spray field hasn’t exactly been a hotbed of development, so even if officials saw it then, it was soon forgotten.
To find the cemetery now, a person has to head down South Lee Street, which is off Mobley Bridge Road, taking her chances when the pavement turns to dirt. The other option is a ride with a city employee through the spray field to get to the graves from the other side.
City Manager James Woods found the cemetery in May with city employees who were doing an inspection of the spray field. It’s within the Hogansville city limit, so now he’d like to find out more about it.
The problem is, there’s not much information to be found.
“No one seems to be very familiar with it,” he said.
There are four or five headstones, but just two with readable names: Patsy Gates and Emma Long. Woods said police Chief Moses Ector, who grew up in Hogansville, heard a story during his childhood that Long had drowned in her youth.
Other than that, there are few clues to how the graves got there, whether it was a small church cemetery or a family cemetery. Some believe a church was on the property, but went away in the 1930s or 1940s. The graves date prior to that.
“My family owned property in that area,” said Ricky Thrash, owner of Thrash and Sons Funeral Home in Hogansville. “It’s possible I even have relatives out there.”
Woods contacted the Troup County Historical Society, which keeps track of local cemeteries. Volunteer Don Flynn, who has been working on a database of local cemeteries, believes he had visited the cemetery before Woods’ discovery, and called the plots “Gates Cemetery.”
The cemetery is not listed, however, in the book “Family, Church and Community Cemeteries of Troup County,” written by Dorothy McClendon in 1990.
“We would love to be able to identify more people who are buried there,” said Kaye Minchew, Troup County Archives director.
Woods would like that, too.
“At some point, something needs to be done to acknowledge it,” he said. “We don’t want to disturb it by accident.”
Anyone with information on the cemetery should contact Hogansville City Hall at 706-637-8629 or the archives at 706-884-1828.