published Monday, March 21st, 2011

Walker Valley students record historic cemetery markers

Walker Valley High School students recorded marker information and mapped this cemetery that dates from the 1860s at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Railroad Street in Charleston, Tenn. The building, no longer actively used by the congregation, is on the National Register of Historic Places. 
Staff Photo by Randall Higgins
Walker Valley High School students recorded marker information and mapped this cemetery that dates from the 1860s at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church on Railroad Street in Charleston, Tenn. The building, no longer actively used by the congregation, is on the National Register of Historic Places. Staff Photo by Randall Higgins

TO LEARN MORE

Visit the Charleston/Calhoun/Hiwassee Historical Society’s website at www.cchhistoricalsociety.org.

CALHOUN, Tenn.—Thanks to the community project of a high school business club, the fading history recorded on some old cemetery stones will be available for many years to come in a book and on the Internet.

The Future Business Leaders of America club at Walker Valley High School on Sunday presented the details of their work to the Charleston/Calhoun/Hiwassee Historical Society at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Charleston, Tenn.

“If they are not cataloged, over time you lose all that information,” said Joe Bryan, faculty advisor to the club.

From markers with Confederate military designations to those noting the deaths of dozens of infants, the markers record the people of the area through two centuries.

The students used chalk dust to trace the hazy stone markings and mapped the locations of each grave on a map. All that information was passed along to other students, who wrote it into computerized spreadsheets.

The results were printed in a book. Soon it will be on genealogy websites.

Calhoun’s cemetery is already cataloged through 1986, said Bryan, also vice-president for the historical society.

“Looking at the markers that are broken or overturned; surely there is a grant out there to help with that,” said Faye Callaway, society president.

Maybe finding that kind of funding can be a future project for the FBLA group, she said.

Meanwhile the society continues to search for a building that can become a visitors center.

“This cemetery record is the kind of thing we could have at the center,” Callaway said.

In other business, society members were told Sunday that McBride Dale Clarion, the consulting firm that put together Bradley County’s 2035 growth plan, is nearly finished with a separate plan for an interpretative greenway in Charleston leading to the Hiwassee River. That book will be available in May.

about Randall Higgins...

Randall Higgins covers news in Cleveland, Tenn., for the Times Free Press. He started work with the Chattanooga Times in 1977 and joined the staff of the Chattanooga Times Free Press when the Free Press and Times merged in 1999. Randall has covered Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Alabama. He now covers Cleveland and Bradley County and the neighboring region. Randall is a Cleveland native. He has bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Technological University. His awards ...

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