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Remains back together

Society holds reinterment ceremony

POSTED: August 30, 2012 4:00 a.m.
Autumn Vetter/

Sandra and Dennis Bottoms look into the graves of the Scudder family during a reinternment ceremony Saturday.

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Important figures in Forsyth County’s history were laid back to rest during a ceremony Saturday.

Members of the Forsyth County Historical Society held a reinterment for the remains of Jacob McCarthy Scudder, wife Diana Jones Scudder and their son, Alfred Scudder.

Jacob Scudder, who died in 1870, had been an Indian trader and was the first state senator from Cherokee County.

He reportedly brought a motion before the Georgia legislature that created 10 counties, including Forsyth, from Cherokee.

Members of the historical society discovered the bones while working last summer at the Scudder family cemetery, which is in the Preserve at Etowah subdivision in northwestern Forsyth.

Society co-president Martha McConnell explained that members were surprised by the discovery since the bones were thought to have been taken by grave robbers.

“Several times over the years people have dug into the graves, thinking that gold was buried with them even though it wasn’t,” she explained.

Members eventually found a skull, six femurs and other bones as they worked to restore the cemetery after an initial preservation project that was begun by Eagle Scout candidate Bradley Graham.

Before he was able to work on the project, Graham was killed in a November 2010 hunting accident.

However, members of his Boy Scout troop came together last summer to complete the project in his honor.

The Scouts worked to clean up the cemetery, remove brush and add landscaping, restore damaged grave markers and add crosses where there were no headstones.

They also added a large sign at the entrance of the cemetery, noting all the family members buried there.

“After the cemetery was fixed [by the Scouts], we decided this deserved the respect it was due, so we set forth to straighten it out,” said McConnell in reference to the grave sites of Jacob, Diana and Alfred Scudder.

Historical society members have spent the past year working to recover pieces of broken coffins to be able to put them back together.

That’s when they began discovering the bones, which they sent for safe keeping to Coroner Lauren McDonald’s office.

Through their work, they have also discovered what they believe the sites originally looked like — two small mausoleums with pillars at each corner.

Members now plan to recreate those structures over the site where the bones were reburied during Saturday’s ceremony.

“This is the completion of the first phase and then we’ll start doing the serious work of trying to recreate, restore it back to the way it was,” said George Pirkle, a member of the society.

“This is not really an archeological project. It was never intended to be. You sort of accidentally make some discoveries as you go along that might interest someone in the archeological field, but archeology is all about destruction because that’s how they have to find their facts, and we’re all about putting things back together.”

Pirkle said he hopes the three elder Scudder family members can finally rest in peace.

“The most gratifying thing is to know that the three adult members of the family are together now,” he said.

 

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