The Baxter Addition - Anderson Cemetery
The late Luke Baxter started the Baxter Addition in about 1961, after the Enoch West addition, started by several community business people in 1942, was nearing capacity.
The Baxter Addition is close to the interstate and lies between the mausoleum and Anderson Memorial Gardens.
Paul W. Atchley said he purchased the unsold graves individually in 1966 from the administrators of Baxters estate and sold those graves until the remaining 375-400 graves were all gone. He agreed to set back $10 out of each grave, that then sold for $40 each, into a fund for maintenance. Once those funds were gone, the maintenance fell back individually on each family which owns graves in the section, he said.
For quite some time, the late Arvel Tuck Peters and his son, Dean, gave their time to maintain that section.
John Bryson often brought his late mother, Mary Bryson Lunsford, flowers for Christmas, placing them on her grave in the Baxter Addition.
He said in December there is generally not a problem with grass growing, but he said he stopped by to visit the grave a couple of years ago and realized that the grass was overgrown and it seemed nobody was caring for the cemetery.
Seeing the same problem this year around Mothers Day, he returned with a mower and found Steve Woods, another person looking after a parents grave; he asked what was going on with the cemetery. Woods directed him to The Catoosa County News article from May 9.
After he became aware there was no central organization or person responsible to make sure that the cemetery received care, he began gathering support of others that own lots or have loved ones interred in the cemetery. He has brought together about 50 interested people and is now seeking more.
The group has elected a board of directors with Bryson as Chairman. Other members include Sam Dills, Gary Carlock, Harle Green, Loretta Stanley, Pete Hackett and Richard Davis.
The group is working with attorney Wayne Peters and the City of Ringgold to establish a trustee agreement to be managed by the city. This is an option offered to the cities under Georgia law, according to Peters. Peters said it also allows the group to forego spending funds that could be used for maintenance on paperwork and fees required to set up the non-profit organization.
Individuals may donate to the city and take advantage of a tax deduction, he said.
People will have confidence in donating to the city, he said.
Bryson and Peters with a group of 17 appealed to the Ringgold City Council for their support at its July 23 meeting.
Nathan Anderson Cemetery Fund
For more information, call (706) 937-6736.
Baxter Addition-Anderson Cemetery Fund
For more information, call (706) 965-6535.
Sons of Confederate Veterans restoration volunteer effort
For more information, call (706) 935-8778
The council asked for its attorney to work with Peters to create the appropriate paperwork.
I would like to applaud you for what you are doing, said Councilman Terry Crawford.
Bryson emphasized that the only service the city will provide is administration of the funds donated for maintenance.
They will not be providing money or mowing services for the cemetery, he said. If the fund gets eaten up there will be no expense for the city.
He said under the agreement, the city will keep the funds and write checks to the company providing the maintenance to the property as directed by the board of directors.
We would like in the future for this to become a perpetual care, Bryson said. Naturally our first goal is to get enough money to mow the grass each year.
Bryson estimates that mowing the 500 by 59-foot cemetery containing approximately 500 graves will cost about $2,400 per year.
He said the intention is to expand the effort of asking people whose loved ones are buried in the Baxter Addition for annual support of the long-term care of the property.
Its the honorable thing to do, he said.
The group discovered the actual name of the cemetery on the deed is the Baxter Addition-Anderson Cemetery. Bryson said there was a hope of changing the name to eliminate confusion between the cemeteries but the group will have to go with the original name.
Bryson concluded that the cemeterys presence near its citys hotel district only reinforces the need for it to be maintained well.
The city is wanting to turn the city into a tourist town, he said. If they walk past a cemetery that is grown up it does not speak well for the town.
One other issue that may pose a problem to someone in the future is the mausoleum that sits on the border of the Baxter Addition and the Nathan Anderson Cemetery.
We do not know who is responsible for the mausoleum, he said. There is really not a lot of information about it.
He said the concrete roof is already crumbling.
Nathan Anderson Cemetery
Two key areas of need were identified for the historic cemetery that includes burial sites for not only Civil War soldiers but also many of the leading early citizens of this region.
First, the maintenance funding available for mowing the site which contains thousands of graves have dwindled, and according to Shirley Rhinehart, treasurer of the Nathan Anderson Cemetery Fund, despite some donations since the article and a ticketed fundraising effort with a prize, the fund is still struggling to meet the costs for maintenance this year.
Currently plans are underway to do some direct mailing requests to descendants of those interred at the cemetery, as well as coming up with some other ideas for fundraising, she said.
The cost of mowing the cemetery averages $1,000 per month, she said.
Another area of concern is the deterioration and poor condition of hundreds of monuments at the site. Many are broken and require restoration; some just need cleaning.
A group of volunteers from Ringgold Church of Christ assisted earlier in the year with cleaning of stones and clearing away brush and weeds.
Sons of Confederate Veterans Col. Joseph McConnell Camp 1859 is stepping up to assist in helping improve the cemetery.
Tom Poteet, commander, said their group is concentrating currently on improving the oldest section of Nathan Anderson. He said so far the group has also worked on cleaning headstones reaching about 50 percent to date in the old section.
Poteet said once the weather cools in October the group will increase its efforts with additional plans to fill sunken graves, straighten leaning headstones, begin appropriate repairs to broken headstones, and repair the wrought iron.
He said they are also making similar efforts in Ringgolds Citizens Cemetery.
Poteet said their organization welcomes the support and participation of other groups or individuals in the efforts.
CLICK ON THESE LINKS