A (R) RESTED PAST
A SURVEY OF SMALL UNRECORDED SOUTHERN GEORGIA CEMETERIES
Brennon E. Smith, Sr.
Westview Cemetery was surveyed and photographed by Brennon E. Smith, Sr. The project required many visits to the cemetery and was completed in 2013. Westview Cemetery was one of several cemeteries included in Brennon’s study for a class at Jacksonville State University.
The following is an excerpt from Brennon’s paper.
Section 4: Westview Cemetery (Polk County, Georgia)
Originally this region was Creek Indian land. After the Revolutionary War, the Cherokee also moved into the area as well as farmers, and became known as Polk County. The Creek, Cherokee, and farmers were followed by Welsh miners who developed and worked the slate and granite quarries discovered in the immediate area. During the Civil War and for some years after, Van Wert, a tiny town within the borders of the town of Rockmart, was the town’s business center with a lively economy. Rockmart was established after the war in 1872 and grew in a circle around Van Wert. The Southern Railway depot was established in Van Wert about 1838 (the records are unclear about the date) and after the Civil War the railroad owners’ took advantage of the massive amounts of rock in the vicinity, which aided in the rebuilding of the South. Rockmart’s name was taken from the area’s Rock Market, which boasted large amounts of slate, limestone, iron shale, and clay. (Polk)
Before and after the war there was a need to supply areas for burial of the dead. As many other areas of the south, the Church and family plots served the need well. One such cemetery encountered in my search was called the West View Cemetery. This cemetery was recommended to me by Ms. Jane Thompson with the Polk County Historical Society, and she was very excited to have this historically significant site properly recorded.
Traveling south on highway 27 from Rome, Georgia continue to Cedartown, Georgia. Take the by-pass exit highway 1 until you come to the by-pass exit highway 278 (Nathan Deal Highway) east. Continue east on 278 for 7.2 miles until you reach Elm Street (Cedartown Highway) and turn right. Continue south on Elm Street for 1 mile and the cemetery will be on your left.
Westview Cemetery was situated on a downward slope from the parallel road which accessed it. With no photographs of the origins of its beginning, there was no way to tell if it contained planted material that conformed to the white graveyards of the late 1800s. The site consisted of approximately 3 acres extending 300 feet by 1,200 feet and contained approximately 600 graves, 450 marked and 150 unmarked. The gravestone dates range from the early 1800s to present day burials.
I found the condition of the plot in good condition. The graves were laid out on the site left to right facing east. There are four natural small rolling hills on this site that made it easy to split the graves up into a four segments. Although there are a few overturned and broken grave stones, there was no indication of vandalism; the damage was apparently due to the forces of mother- nature. Wives were buried to the right of their husbands insofar as the existing markers indicated. There were hardwood trees interspersed in the cemetery randomly spaced approximately 75 feet apart on average, and they were relatively young. The grounds contained no hedges, ground cover, or fences perhaps due to a lack of funds. However, there were seven small areas surrounded by curbing materials of concrete, concrete block, chain link fence. Indications of the names within the borders of the curbing brought me to the conclusion these were family plots. Although the site had been recently cleared of many small trees and underbrush indicating a recent deep cleaning of past overgrowth, it did contain several hardwood trees and bushes sparsely sprinkled across the yard.