History / Places + Trails

Mountain Grove Cemetery Church & School

Mountain Grove Cemetery – December 29, 2018

Location / Coordinates
N 34.50077°
W 83.44158°

Mountain Grove Cemetery is located within the Lake Russell Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Cornelia/Toccoa (Stephens and Habersham counties). The cemetery is located within the WMA at the intersection of Forest Service Roads 92 and 92B.

Today only the cemetery remains, but this cemetery was part of the Mountain Grove community that existed within the WMA bounds in the early 1900s. At the site of the cemetery a church also existed which served as the local school after the original school building (“Ballew School”) burned down.

mountain-grove-cemetery-school-steps-lake-russell-wma-ga.jpg These concrete and brick steps are the only part of the Mountain Grove church that still remain. These concrete and brick steps are the only part of the Mountain Grove church that still remain.
If you look closely at the headstone to the right you can see ‘WC Farmer’ and ‘AUG 2 1845’ making him the oldest person that is buried in the cemetery. Also, if you look directly in the middle of the two headstones you will see one of the small granite headstones that do not any have markings.

According to the information at the cemetery site (see photos below) the Mountain Grove community had around 30 home sites. It also had 2 blacksmith shops, a packing house, multiple mills, a sawmill, the Currahee voting house and a syrup mill. There are also multiple cemeteries still located within the WMA as well.

The cemetery is privately owned. In fact it is the only piece of land within the Lake Russell WMA that is privately owned. No one has been buried in the cemetery since William Randol Brown was buried in 1958. As you look around the cemetery you will see headstones with dates all the way back to 1845 (William Crawford Farmer). There are also a number of graves with small granite headstones that do not have any markings (name, date of death, etc.) There are two relatives of those in the cemetery that will be buried here upon their death. According to the information at the site they also will be buried with plain headstones with no markings. It is said to be in honor of their ancestors who are buried in and around the Lake Russell WMA (see photos below for more details).

I thought this was a pretty neat piece of history to stumble upon while out riding around the Lake Russell forest service roads In fact, my wife and I are fairly certain that some of the ‘Farmer’ family buried in the cemetery are related to my wife’s grandmother whose maiden name is Farmer and has lived in Toccoa her entire life!

The US Forest Service has installed a place marker (you can see it in the panoramic photo at the top of the post) that includes information about the cemetery and the Mountain Grove community (which is the source for this post). The photos below are of each page that is included in the place marker. Read the text on pages 2 and 5 in particular for some interesting events that occurred in the cemetery at some point…

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