Historically Speaking: Tales & Secrets from the Grave Cemetery Walking Tour This Saturday 4-6 p.

M.A.B. or Marion Asbury Braddock “Brad” Tatum was the son of R.H. Tatum of Rising Fawn. He followed his father into public service and held various local elected offices including state senator. He was later a federally appointed employee of the Internal Revenue Service, where he did inspections across the state of Georgia. He is buried in Payne Cemetery, which is the old cemetery within Lake Hills. His untimely death brought about a lawsuit by his wife, Ann Withrow Tatum. Come and see what happened with the lawsuit and what happened to Ann after his death.

I have observed that in about three generations (60 years or so) even the people that we cherish and revere become only memories to loved ones. We forget how their voices sound, how their hands looked, what made them laugh and what they did if they had spare time. For people who were public citizens in 19th-century Dade County, knowledge of them and their accomplishments is buried in old newspapers, because even their families don’t know that much about them.

The Dade County Historical Society has been digging into the history of 10 or so people and planning Saturday's cemetery walking tour for almost two years. We have found tales that are fascinating and sometimes hard to believe. A public hanging, a man buried with a lock of his sweetheart’s hair and death by falling from a train are just a few of the things that we have unearthed. We have recruited actors (sometimes descendants) to portray the individual chosen as you walk through two of Trenton’s oldest cemeteries (Baptist and Payne). Everyone included in this tour was deceased by 1908. We have included politicians, preachers, shopkeepers and criminals. On Saturday afternoon we want them to come alive again for you.

Local actors will proudly share the lives of THB Cole, John G. Jacoway, John Retherford and John Rollins at the Baptist Cemetery; and James A. Case, M.A.B.Tatum, Lemuel Coates and Rev. Stephen H. and his son, Little Eddie Thurman, at Payne’s Cemetery. These early settlers lived active lives and, like you and me, their lives didn’t always head in the directions they anticipated. These folks were some of the earliest citizens of Trenton and Dade County. We invite you to come and hear their stories.

The Historical Society is proud to present this tour free of charge; we will gladly take donations to be used by the Society in its efforts to preserve history in the County.

The Legion’s Military Museum will also be open, so please stop in and visit while you are at the Baptist Cemetery. This museum is such a treasure of local military history. They wouldn’t turn down a contribution, either.

Directions: Baptist Cemetery is in Trenton next door to the American Legion Hall and Museum on Highway 11 North.

Payne Cemetery is surrounded by Lake Hills Memorial Gardens. Travel north from the courthouse about one mile and turn left onto Scenic Road. Turn left on Lake Hills Road and go under I-59, then turn right into Lake Hills Memorial Garden and the cemetery will be on a hill on the left side of the road. Follow the signs for parking.

You may start your tour at either cemetery. Folks will be on hand to greet you at both locations.

​​In case of rain, the event will be postponed until next Saturday, May 26, 2018.

NOTE: The Howard's Waterfall Cave Explosion series will continue in the next few weeks.

--Donna Street, donnam.street@gmail.com

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