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Presented & Interpreted by: T.J. (Terry) White-VP & Historian Utoy Cemetery Association, Inc.

April, 2012 (photographs by the author, unless otherwise noted.)

Utoy Cemetery is a fenced three and one-half acre suburban cemetery located on Cahaba Drive SW, behind the old Utoy Primitive Baptist Church (now the Temple of Christ Pentecostal Church), 1911 Venetian Drive SW, Atlanta, Georgia 30311-4033.
It has been owned since 1984 by the Utoy Cemetery Association, Inc., a registered, tax exempt 501 (c) (13) non-profit in Georgia.

Six generations of my great-grandparents lie buried there:

Augustus Jacob White (1889-1895) (bro. of my GGF) Willie Walker White (1881-1881) (infant bro. of my GGF) Francis Marion White (1827-1925) (3rd GGF) Elizabeth F. Marchman White (1835-1911)(3rd GGM) William Wilson White (1800-1895) (4th GGF) Elizabeth Willis White (1801-1883) (4th GGM) Jacob Jake White 5th GGF(c.1772-c.1861) War of 1812 & Creek Indian War Margaret Peggy Suttles Willis 5th GGM (1785-1870) William Suttles (1731-1839) 6th GGF (Revolutionary Soldier) Margaret Harbin Suttles (1748-1839) 6th GGM (wife of Wm.) Plus, many more distant relatives lie buried at Utoy.

If you happen to have ancestors buried there, it is a sacred burial ground for those who made your life possible; by remembering them, you honor them and give them thanks for giving you the gift of life. If you do not have ancestors buried there, then it is also important because---

Utoy Church and Cemetery is apparently the oldest Baptist Church/Cemetery in Atlanta; The Church was used as a field hospital during the Battle of Utoy Creek (in the Civil War); Atlantas very first doctor lies buried there! That same doctor treated the wounded soldiers during the Battle of Utoy Creek in 1864 Revolutionary War soldiers, and veterans of just about every war in which the United States has ever participated also lie buried there.

African slaves and former slaves (after 1865) were members of Utoy Church, and lie buried in the cemetery, right alongside their former masters. Utoy Cemetery (and the Utoy Cemetery Association, which owns the property), because of

the deep involvement of the local community organization, can serve as an excellent example of
cooperation and friendship between those races (African and Caucasian) which were once at odds.

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners, will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood

(l-r) Mr. Malcolm McDuffie, Dr. I.M. SpenceLewis, Ms. Karen Babineau, Maj. Perry Bennett, U.S.A.

Utoy Primitive Baptist Church,

which was founded in what is now Atlanta (but was then part of DeKalb County)

on August

th, 15


Isaac N. Johnson, who was Sheriff of DeKalb

County from 1830 to 1832. He later represented DeKalb County in the State Senate (he was elected on 10 January 1836). He served Utoy in the 1820s as the Church Clerk, as this entry from the minutes shows.

The Austin Leyden House: This fine home was used in 1864 by Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood as his Atlanta headquarters. Sadly, it was demolished in the Twentieth Century. (photo credit: Atlanta History Center)

His niece Elizabeth Angeline Herring, whose husband was prominent Atlanta physician, Dr. Nedom L. Angier. Dr. Angier later served as Atlantas Mayor during the Reconstruction Presidency of Rutherford B. Hayes. Mrs. Angier was another daughter of the aforementioned William Herring (1799-1868), the brother of Joel of Utoy Church.

Engraving that appeared with the sketch for "Hon. Nedom L. Angier" in the series "Our Portrait Gallery/ Portraits and Biographies of Distinguished Men and Women," the Sunny South, 10 August 1878, page 5.

who was a daughter of Charner Humphries (1795-1855), who built the once-famous Whitehall Tavern, a stagecoach stop and inn for which Atlantas Whitehall Street was named (according to late Atlanta Historian Franklin M. Garrett). Nancy Humphries was the wife of Dr. William Gilbert (18071864) (her 2nd of three husbands), who was Fulton Countys first doctor, and a brother of Atlantas first doctor, Dr. Joshua Gilbert. Nancys eldest son by her 2nd husband Dr. Gilbert was Jeremiah Silas Gilbert (1839-1932), whose circa-1865 Gilbert House farmhouse still stands in Atlanta, and is a renowned cultural landmark owned and managed by the City.

A separate adjacent stone reads: A Southern Lady of the Confederacy

Muster day [of the local militia] was the big event at the [Whitehall] tavern. This was an annual affair, where the yokelry of all the county districts were called together by the major commanding the militia. The functionary who held the county muster at Whitehall was Major Alexander Ratteree. The summons having been issued, the able bodied male citizens came trooping in, with their flint lock fowling pieces, and [were] usually primed for a frolic [i.e., slightly inebriated]. Many horses decorated the rack in front of the big white tavern. Actual drill in the manual of arms lasted about two hours, but this was only a beginning. Trials of marksmanship were then held, with a prize of a yearling cow to the winner. The cowwhoever won itwas then offered up as a sacrifice to the collective appetites of the assemblage, for it was straightway slaughtered, cooked and served, together with the accompanying comestibles [foods], all washed down by copious potations [beverages], not so poetic but more potent than brown October ale. Indeed the whiskey barrel was a common institution at such places. Charner [Humphries] kept one on tap in the rear of the store, where cash customers were entitled to drinks on the house, but it was considered good etiquette for strangers or occasional visitors, to leave a nickel or dime on the barrel head after imbibing. Drilling, marksmanship and feasting were followed by more diverting entertainment. Most districts had a bully, or one gifted with alleged fistic prowess, and the day was counted lost if somebody didnt get well pounded and bruised up in the ringwhich was literally a ring of cheering and betting spectators, and not a squared circle of rope. Most everybody had a dog, and when all the pugilistic entries were either victors or vanquished, the canine belligerents were cheered on by the owners or partisans. That these dog battles were often extemporaneous detracted not one whit from the enjoyment of the crowd. The militia officers did not at all times retain the respect of the rural soldiery; Mr. Gilbert recalled that at one of the musterings the assembled militiamen, having taken umbrage at something said or done by Major Ratteree, ran him off the place.

Besides the Walton Springs there were springs and branches and even creeks all over the woods around here. I had to ride all about and around and collect (names meant something in those days) and then ride to Decatur to turn in the funds. Wild or mild, I had to go. So one time a big rain caught me. I was going over a little bridge and my mareshe was fierytried to break away. I held her back and we got over; but no sooner did I top a rise than that bridge just turned around and went on down the creek. I knew then that my mare had sensed the danger and tried to save me. I had [had] enough risk by that time, so I [decided] that I wouldnt run [for the office of tax collector] again.

James Monroe (1758-1831) was President, Thomas Jefferson and John Adams each had only two more years to live, George IV (1762-1830) was King of England, The Poet Lord Byron had just died in April of that year, fighting for Greek Independence, The Ottoman Empire still ruled the entire Middle East, Composers Beethoven and Schubert were alive in Vienna, The American Revolution, the Louisiana Purchase (1803), the Lewis and Clark Expedition (1804-06), the War of 1812, and Napoleon and the Battle of Waterloo (1815), were recent memories, The area where Utoy Church was established was still on the edge of the American frontier, Native Americans still lived in great numbers in Georgia, Most of Georgia and surrounding states were still vast areas of Wilderness!

Only a well-paid doctor, lawyer, merchant, or politician could ever afford to build a home like this one (built in 1839 in Fayette County):

This is a surviving example of the plain, handmade wooden pews worshippers had to endure sitting on, sometimes for hours!

Diseases like Cholera, Typhus, Yellow Fever, and Malaria were terribly common, and not very treatable; Infant Mortality was staggeringly high (the high number of infant graves at Utoy alone is a sobering reminder ); The Number One killer of women was infections contracted during childbirth; To help people endure an awful Present, their Preachers promised them a rewarding Future, beyond the Grave; It was for this promised Heavenly Afterlife which most people yearned. Religion was therefore very important to most of them!

This was during the Civil War Battle of Utoy Creek, part of the larger Atlanta Campaign of Northern General William Tecumseh Sherman.

The Battle of Utoy Creek was in fact a Confederate Victory: a determined Union attack against a thin line of entrenched Confederates defending Atlanta got firmly repulsed! If you lost a fight, would you go around broadcasting the news? Lincoln was facing reelection in the Fall of 1864, and the War was going badly for the North: none of Lincolns supporters in Washington wanted news of a Union loss to get outit would have hampered Lincolns chances for reelection! Sherman thus intentionally downplayed the battles significance. The area of the Utoy Creek battlefield subsequently got mostly developed as housing subdivisions in the 1890s through the early decades of the Twentieth Century.

The Victors write the History Books, not the Losers

William White was one of the first to come and [was] one of the most highly esteemed of all the early comers. He arrived in the year 1824, riding a lank horse, with his plow-gear on the animal, and a side of meat and his plowing utensils tied up in a sack behind him. The pilfering Indians fretted him very much when they came from their quarters at Sandtown and were forever peeping around the smokehouse and slyly picking up any useful articles lying around. His wife was afraid of them. He had gone back Franklin County after her just as soon as he could get the log cabin ready and was in such a hurry that he didnt take time to board up some of the cracks between the logs. So when bears, wolves, and panthers came prowling around the house at night, the lady refused to occupy the side of the bed next to the wall for fear that the wild animals would poke their noses through the openings and bite her. Soon Mr. White stopped up the cracks and built various additions to the original cabin, and he and his wonderful helpmate lived to see many great-grandchildren, but he himself was the one to face the wall and sleep on the far side of the big feather bed.

This underground shelter was behind the home of Joseph Willis, on Willis Mill Road, in Atlanta:

In 1938, he recounted the story to a newspaper reporter for the Atlanta Journal:

In this bomb-proof four families are now living, and I never felt more pity than when, day before yesterday [Aug. 9th], I looked down into the pit, and saw there, in the gloom made visible by a candle burning while it was broad day above, women sitting on the floor of loose boards, resting against each other, haggard and wan, trying to sleep away the days of terror, while innocentlooking children, four or five years old, clustered around the air-hole, looking up with pale faces and great staring eyes as they heard the singing of the bullets that were flying thick above their sheltering place.

One by one all twenty-six emerged like woodchucks from their underground home: women, children, white-haired men, blinking their eyes at the sudden glare of sunlight, staring with disbelief at the warshattered countryside they had not seen for three weeks. They wolfed down army rations of hardtack, beef, and Yankee coffee with the avid hunger of the starving, and then crawled back into their burrow to wait in blind faith for the war to end or leave their part of Georgia.

He was the last living eyewitness of the Battle of Utoy Creek, according to late Atlanta historian Franklin M. Garrett. (Several generations of his ancestors lie buried at Utoy Cemetery.)

Was founded in 1977 to assist in the maintenance and preservation of Atlantas Historic Utoy Church Cemetery. It is primarily composed of descendants of persons buried in the cemetery (or former church members), with the addition of individuals interested in historic preservation. In 1984, the Association was deeded the 3 acre cemetery property by the Deacons of Utoy Primitive Baptist Church. I have been a member since 1979 (age sixteen).

Front Row-left to right: Maxine McDuffie Member; Elder Joe F. Hildreth Member; Dr. I. M. Spence-Lewis-Westridge-Sandtown Community Organization; Dianese Howard-Westridge-Sandtown Community Organization. Back row- left to right: Michael Mitchell-Visitor (drove Elder Hildreth); Malcolm McDuffie Vice President; Major L. Perry Bennett, Jr. President; Tyler Walden-Friend of Utoy Cemetery; Terry White Vice President; D. Gordon Draves - East Point Historical Society.

Major Perry Bennett, Jr. President T.J. (Terry) White-VP-Historian Malcolm McDuffie-VP-Operations Charles Strickland-Treasurer Joe Suttles Member and Chairman Board of Directors

The National Registry of Historic Places, in Washington, D.C.

January, 2009 We began the preliminary application Feb 11, 2010 - Preliminary Application was sent
Certified mail/return request receipt to DNR-HPD Attachments half-inch deep plus photos

March 9, 2010 Historic Preservation Division advises us that we are eligible to apply
"Historic Property Information Form (HPIF)" Required

August 1, 2010 Final Application was hand delivered to HPD

Attachments were 4 inches deep!

June 20, 2011- Ga. National Review Board approved Utoy for the Georgia Register of Historic Places HPD must now prepare and forward our application to Washington, D.C. for federal approval on the National Register of Historic Places.
DNR preparation effort and federal approval process will take many

additional months

To be eligible for listing in the National Register, a property must

Be old enough to be considered historic (generally at least 50

years old), and Still look much the way it was in the past. In addition, the property must:
be associated with events, activities, or developments that were important in the past; or be associated with the lives of people who were important in the past; or be significant in the areas of architectural history, landscape history, or engineering; or have the potential to yield information through archaeological investigation that would answer questions about our past.

In 1864, the Utoy church served as a military field hospital for captured Union and wounded Confederate soldiers. There are twenty-three (23) unknown Confederate soldiers, from Gen. S.D. Lee's Corps of Bate's Division, buried at the Utoy Cemetery. These were among the 35 Confederate casualties of the Battle of Utoy Creek, who died from wounds treated at the Utoy Church field hospital. One additional known casualty of this conflict and eleven (11) other known Confederate veterans are also buried at Utoy. Additionally, a portion of the Rebel defensive line still exists, only a few feet north of the Confederate graves.

The Utoy Church and Cemetery are part of a popular driving tour of Civil War historical markers, starting at the Battle of Ezra Church and Westview Cemetery Markers, then to Utoy Church, and on to the Surrender, Fort Hood, and Change of Command Markers. We participate every March with the Atlanta Preservation Centers Phoenix Flies tours of historic or cultural sites.

During the 1864 Battle of Utoy Creek, the Confederates established a field hospital for this area at the Utoy Primitive Baptist Church. The primary surgeon was Dr. Joshua Gilbert who was assisted by Miss Sarah Hendon as a nurse, and other volunteers from the area. Both Dr. Gilbert and Miss Hendon are buried in the Utoy Cemetery with DAR and UDC memorial recognition.

Dr. Joshua Gilbert was Atlanta's first doctor. He was born in 1815 in South Carolina and was graduated from the old Augusta Medical College in 1845 and then came to Atlanta. At that time, Atlanta was called Marthasville and was located in DeKalb County. Here Dr. Gilbert practiced medicine until his death in 1889.

Dr. Gilbert and Miss Hendon treated both Confederate and captured Union soldiers. A Colonel James S. Boynton, commanding the 30th Georgia Infantry of Brigadier General H. R. Jackson's Georgia Brigade, was treated here after being wounded at the Battle of Utoy Creek, one mile Northwest of Utoy Cemetery, along what is now Cascade Road SW.
Colonel Boynton later became President of the Georgia Senate and, on March 5, 1883, the day after the death of Governor Alexander H. Stephens, he became of Governor of Georgia, to serve until a special election could be held.

A week after Colonel Boyntons being wounded, his division commander Major General William B. Bate was treated here on 10 August 1864 from wounds received at the Battle of Utoy Creek, and was evacuated to Barnesville, Georgia to recuperate.

Union casualties were interred here until 1866, when they were moved by the US Quartermaster's Office at Atlanta, to the National Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia, where they lie buried to this day.

The Battle of Utoy Creek was a major victory for the Confederates and a terrible loss to the Union Army under Sherman. The Plan of Sherman was poorly executed by Schofield, forcing Sherman into an unwinnable siege war. US Forces in total amongst the two corps in killed and wounded were a little less than two thousand troops. The Confederates losses included 35 killed and two hundred wounded or captured.

It was only after General Sherman outflanked the Confederate Army to the south of East Point, and cut the railroad [line] at Jonesborough, that he secured a Confederate victory in the Battle of Atlanta, thus ensuring President Lincolns re-election, and the fall of the Confederacy.

The Georgia Historical Commission has placed a marker near the Corner of Venetian Dr. and Cahaba Drive in SW Atlanta signifying the importance of the Utoy Church and cemetery: The DAR, SAR, and the UDC have marked and improved both Revolutionary and Civil War graves The SAR will be conducting a grave marking ceremony for Patriot William Suttles on Sept. 8th, 2012. You are all cordially invited!

Historic Utoy Church State Historical Marker Located at the cemetery on Cahaba Dr. just off Venetian Dr. in Atlanta, Ga.


Utoy Primitive Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist Church in present Fulton County, was constituted August 15, 1824, in a log house just west of here. The church was moved to its present location in the summer of 1828. In 1864 the church was used as a Confederate hospital. July 22, Col. James S. Boynton, 30th Georgia, was wounded and brought to Utoy Church for medical care. Boynton later became President of the Georgia Senate and on March 5, 1883, the day after the death of Governor Alexander H. Stephens, he became of Governor of Georgia, to serve until a special election could be held. In the cemetery at Utoy Church lies buried Dr. Joshua Gilbert, Atlanta's first doctor. Born in 1815 in South Carolina, Dr. Gilbert was graduated from old Augusta Medical College in 1845 and came to Atlanta. At that time Atlanta was called Marthasville and was located in DeKalb County. Here he practiced medicine until his death in 1889. 060-192 GEORGIA HISTORICAL COMMISSION 1961

Utoy Cemetery was added to the Georgia Register

of Historic Places!
(with inclusion on the National Registry to follow)

Congratulations! Utoy Cemetery has passed the Georgia National Review Board. The next step is for our National Register Staff to prepare the final nomination to be sent to the National Register of Historic Places in Washington, D.C. Unfortunately, each of the National Register staff employees has other job responsibilities along with a number of other National Register nominations, so it usually takes

quite a while for nominations to be processed and submitted to Washington.