Notables Buried at Oconee Hill Cemetery
The community surrounding Athens and the University of Georgia has long been known as an area rich in its production of some of the most notable individuals in the South. Contributions in government, medicine, sports, and music are hallmarks of these individuals.
Among those interred at Oconee Hill Cemetery are several former University of Georgia presidents, or chancellors as they were once known, including Alonzo Church, Patrick Hues Mell, Walter Barnard Hill, David Crenshaw Barrow, Omar Clyde Aderhold and Frederick Corbet Davison. Two Georgia governors have their final resting place at Oconee Hill, Wilson Lumpkin and Howell Cobb. The first chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court Joseph Henry Lumpkin can be found here as well as four Confederate generals (and veterans of all wars fought by Americans including the American Revolution). Numerous Congressmen and the former U.S. Secretary of State Dean Rusk are buried at Oconee Hill. Crawford Long, acknowledged for the discovery of anesthesia, is buried at Oconee Hill, as is William Lorenzo Moss, who developed a method of classifying blood groupings. Hymn writer David Bledsoe, Georgia's first aviator Ben Epps, and Ricky Wilson, guitarist for the rock band B 52's, are all buried at Oconee Hill.
Appreciation is extended to the Athens Academy students in Dr. Randy Reid’s research class, About The Home, who contributed the following biographies of individuals interred at Oconee Hill Cemetery.
Thomas Wiley Baxter
Thomas Wiley Baxter (1789-1844), a prominent businessman and entrepreneur in the early nineteenth century Athens. He also had business interests around the state, most notably in Milledgeville and Macon. He advocated for industrial development in the agricultural South and served as president of the Athens Manufacturing Company.
Wilson Lumpkin (1783-1870) represented a dominant force in Georgia politics during the antebellum period. During his political career he served in the state legislature, the United States House of Representatives, the United States Senate, and two terms as governor. Lumpkin also spearheaded the removal of the Cherokee nation from Georgia.
Paulina “Pina” Thomas Adams
Paulina “Pina” Thomas Adams (1843-1876) helped found the “Soldiers’ Aid Society” during the Civil War and the “Ladies Memorial Association “to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the Confederacy after the war.
Born in West Brattleboro, Vermont, Alonzo Church (1793-1862) received his education at Middlebury College. The possibilities for work as a teacher attracted him to Georgia. After starting a school in Putnam County, he moved to Athens to lead the mathematics department at the University of Georgia in 1820. Nine years later he became president of the University, a post he held for thirty years. The Presbyterian Church ordained him as an evangelist in 1854.
Mary Ann Lamar Cobb
Mary Ann Lamar Cobb (1818-1889) married the prominent Athenian politician Howell Cobb, with whom she had twelve children. The six surviving children became leaders in late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century Athens. Mary Ann served as a leader in the First Baptist Church of Athens and the Athens Ladies Aid Society, which united wealthy Athenian women to support Confederate soldiers.
The son of John Addison Cobb and Sarah Rootes Cobb, Howell Cobb (1815-1868) served as a congressman, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, governor of Georgia, and Secretary of the Treasury under James Buchanan. A late proponent of secession, Cobb served as the President of the Confederate Provisional Congress and rose to the rank of major general during the war. He surrendered to Union forces at Macon in April, 1865.
Howell Cobb, Jr.
Howell Cobb, Jr. (1842-1909) was the son of Howell and Mary Ann Lamar Cobb. A student at the University of Georgia when the Civil War erupted, he abandoned his studies to enlist in the Troup Artillery, but transferred to serve on his father’s regimental staff shortly after joining the Confederate forces defending Richmond in 1861. He studied law after the war and then opened a law firm with his brother, Lamar, and brother-in-law, Alexander Erwin. Appointed judge of the city court in 1879, he held this position until his death from a paralyzing stroke on August 19, 1909.
Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb
Thomas Reade Rootes Cobb (1823-1862), one of antebellum Georgia’s leading lawyers and politicians, penned the South’s preeminent legal defense of slavery. He strongly favored secession in 1860-61. As a delegate to the Confederate Provisional Congress he served as the primary author of the Confederate constitution. He suffered a mortal wound at the Battle of Fredericksburg, December 13, 1862.
William G. Delony
William G Delony (1826-1863) earned a reputation as both an excellent teacher in the Franklin College at the University of Georgia and as a successful Athens attorney before the Civil War. At the outbreak of the war, he raised a cavalry unit dubbed the Georgia Troopers. The Georgia Troopers became a part of T.R.R. Cobb’s Georgia Legion and Delony rose to command the cavalry of the Legion with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. An aggressive and courageous warrior, he sustained a serious wound to the leg in fighting at Jack’s Shop on September 22, 1863 and was captured by Federal forces. He died of gangrene on October 2, 1863 at age 37.
Alexander Smith Erwin
Alexander Smith Erwin (1843-1907), a veteran of the Confederate army and a prominent Athenian jurist, is remembered for advancing further than any other Confederate soldier during Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. He joined Athens’ social and economic elite when he married into the prominent Cobb family.
Susan Bevel Allen Harris
Susan Bevel Allen Harris (ca. 1818-1888), wife of Young Loftin Gerdine Harris, lent support to Confederate troops during the Civil War through her participation in the Athens Ladies Aid Society. Her husband is best remembered as a primary benefactor of Young Harris College. Described in her obituary as being “of a rather shrinking nature,” she tended to avoid taking a visible role in Athenian social life.
Elizabeth Ann Hill
Few records exist on the life of Elizabeth Ann Hill (1810-1894). She married her first cousin, Blanton Meade Hill, in 1825. Their marriage produced seven children. At least two of her sons fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War, one of whom died., No doubt motivated by a desire to provide material support for her sons and the men fighting with him, Elizabeth joined the Athens Ladies Aid Society. The membership elected her directress in 1861.
Augustus Longstreet Hull
Augustus Longstreet Hull (1847-1909) served as one of Athens earliest local historians, recording the history of the Classic City in his of Annals of Athens. After serving with Confederate forces, he attended the University of Georgia. He served on the Athens School Board and as a trustee for the University of Georgia. Elected as Secretary and Treasurer for the University in 1890, he held this post until his death.
Mary Angelina Nisbet Hull
Mary Angelina Nisbet Hull (1817-1885) married widower Henry Hull on November 12, 1846. Thereafter, she devoted her efforts to raising her stepdaughter and her own three children as well as supervising the family’s household. During the Civil War, she joined the Athens Ladies Aid Society.
Andrew Jackson Lamar
The youngest child of Zachariah Lamar and Mary Ann Robinson Lamar, Andrew Jackson Lamar (1823-1848) was educated at the University of Georgia and in Europe before embarking on a career as a planter. He died on his plantation in Lowndes County, Alabama following an accidental overdose of paregoric.
Jefferson M. Lamar
Born in Milledgeville, Jefferson Mirabeau Lamar (1835-1862) was the son of Lucius Quintus Cincinnatus Lamar and Sarah Williamson Bird Lamar. An attorney, he volunteered for service with Cobb’s Georgia Legion at the outbreak of the Civil War. Commissioned a captain in August 1861, he rose to the command of the Legion infantry by January, 1862 with the rank of lieutenant colonel. He sustained a mortal wound at Crampton’s Gap on September 14, 1862 and died the following day.
Crawford W. Long
As a medical student, Crawford W. Long (1815-1878) observed the horrific pain suffered by patients during operations. He sought a solution through a compound of sulfuric ether and nitrous oxide. His peers viewed his efforts with skepticism, but today Long receives credit as the father of anesthesia.
Joseph Henry Lumpkin
One of Georgia’s leading attorneys, Joseph Henry Lumpkin (1799-1867), served as the first Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court and co-founder of the University of Georgia law school.
Mary Jordan Newton
Born in Northampton County, North Carolina, Mary Jordan Newton (1804-1893) was the daughter of Revolutionary War soldier John Jordan, making her a Real Daughter of the American Revolution. She married businessman and industrialist John Hamlin Newton in 1827. The couple settled in Athens in 1837. The mother of two Confederate soldiers, one of whom died in the Civil War, Mary participated in the Athens Ladies Aid Society’s efforts to supply the needs of men serving in the army.
A native of New Jersey and graduate of Princeton, Alexander McLean Scudder (1819-1892) settled in Athens where he lived for more than forty years. He owned and taught at the successful Centre Hill Academy. Augustus Longstreet Hull reminisced that “he taught a flourishing school for many years and whipped half the men in town.”
Ellison Durrough Stone
By the time of his death, Ellison Durrough Stone (1835-1905) had earned the title of “the most universally loved man in the city of Athens.” Trained as a printer, Stone became the publisher of both the Southern Cultivator and the Athens Weekly Chronicle. As an ordained minister of the Methodist church, he worked to establish several churches and Sunday schools, He served as the chaplain for Cobb’s Georgia Legion during the Civil War.
Isabella Lightfoot Hayes Thomas
Isabella Lightfoot Hayes Thomas (1818-1891), daughter of Bartholomew L. Hayes and Martha P. Cocke Hayes was born in Milton, North Carolina. She married Athens businessman Stevens Thomas on June 20, 1836, and the couple made their home in Athens. Isabella served in the Ladies Aid Society of Athens during the Civil War.
Stevens Thomas (1814-1891), a respected businessman and dealer in real estate married Isabella L. Hayes on June 20, 1836. The marriage produced seven children. Thomas Street, in downtown Athens, is named in honor of the family.
A native of New York, William White (1820-1867) relocated to Athens around 1847. He operated White’s University Bookstore, just across Broad Street from the University of Georgia. With the outbreak of the Civil War, White cast his fate with his adopted state and served with Confederate forces. Following the war, he continued to operate his bookstore, even as he developed a national reputation for his writings on nature and horticulture. He died on July 14, 1867 at age 46.
James Wallace “Wally” Butts (1905-1973) gained fame for his twenty-year career as a football coach at the University of Georgia. His 140 wins makes him one of the University’s most successful head football coaches, second only to Vince Dooley in total wins. His teams won four Southeastern Conference championships. In 1997, the College Football Hall of Fame honored him with induction as a member.
Ben Epps (1888-1937) built and flew the first airplane in the state of Georgia. Athens acknowledged his contributions to aviation by naming its airport in Epps’ honor following his death in a test flight in 1937.
Dan Magill (1921-2014) worked tirelessly as the sports information director for UGA for fifty years and as the University of Georgia’s head tennis coach for thirty-four years, earning him recognition in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 1976.
William Lorenzo Moss
Athens native William Lorenzo Moss (1876-1957), studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University and later became the Dean of the School of Health at Harvard University. He retired as the Dean of Medicine at the University of Georgia. Moss is best known for his advancements in the field of blood typing.
Ricky Wilson (1953-1985), the lead guitarist for the B-52s, is one of the most prominent figures of Athens’ rich musical history.