Clay Cemetery

Documenting and preserving Clay Cemetery in Atlanta's Kirkwood community

6 thoughts on “Panoramic photos

  1. I am searching for Simon Wesley Kennedy (b 1852 d 1897) and his wife (Mary Hathaway Kennedy b 1852 d 1931) and many years ago was told that they are buried in the Clay Cemetery. Many years of searching have been unsuccessful in locating my great grandparents. I was thrilled to locate this site.

    Simon Wesley Kennedy is the father-in-law of Will D. Clay mentioned above who was killed in a scaffolding fall. Therefore, I do think it is possible that he and his wife could possibly be among the unmarked graves, I’m wondering if there are records to indicate who is buried in the unmarked graves. Any information you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

  2. We have been unable to locate any comprehensive records for the burials at Clay Cemetery and it is unknown at what point unmarked burials began. Evidence suggests they may have occurred as late as the early 1970’s. In the course of researching the 42 conventionally marked burials we have documented 14 burials without conventional markers through death certificates, newspaper death notices, obituaries, and other records. No Kennedy is documented though both Will D. Clay (wife Ida Kennedy Clay) and his son W.D. Clay (mother Ida Kennedy Clay) are known to be buried there.

    This does not mean we have no Kennedy burial. The nearby Parker Family Cemetery (aka Stamps Chapel Cemetery) has the following Kennedy burials along with a great many Clays and Parkers related to or descendant of those buried in Clay Cemetery:

    Claude Raymond 12 JUN 1897 04 MAR 1968
    Eunice O. 19 APR 1914 05 MAY 1989 w/o Claude
    Myrt David 15 NOV 1887 12 MAY 1947

    We anticipate documenting additional unmarked burials when we review the Kirkwood Baptist Church records in the Southern Baptist Archives in Macon, Georgia later this year. The church was founded by the Clays and others in 1871 and while Clay Cemetery was not a church cemetery we expect some of the church’s congregation to be buried there.

  3. I recently visited the cemetery in the late spring of this year. I cannot express my total humble gratitude for the interest and work you and the group have managed and brought to light. Simply, it blesses my heart. I am a decendent of Jesse. His oldest child, John Augustus is my great great great grandfather, following is Royal LaPradd Clay, Calvin Coad Clay, Calvin Huelin Clay, Huelin Lee Clay then me. Thank you.

  4. Terri – We are glad you enjoyed your visit and that it touched something in you and your past and appreciate your kind words! That to us is one of the great joys of care giving for a historic cemetery, the ability to touch and connect with the past and to keep it alive amongst us all. We wish you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. I have recently found this website. John Augustus is my great great great grandfather. His son Milton is my 2nd great grandfather. His daughter Lessie Clay Richardson is my great grandmother with Charles Grady Richardson being her son, Grady Randolph Richardson, then me. I have been looking for a very long time for any info on Milton and Lessie (Milton also had a son, Olin). I would be very interested in corresponding with someone that could tell me more about this line of Clays. Milton had a wife, E.M. or M. E. depending on what document you are looking at. Lessie died in 1914 so no death certificate. 1890 Census would have given some much need clues, but we all know what happened there. Milton is not buried at the Clay family cemetery. Anyone know why not? Lessie is buried beside her husband at Bethel Cemetery in DeKalb County.
    I have matched DNA with several family members, so I know I am on the correct “branch”.

    I want to make a trip to the Clay Family Cemetery. Is there any paper documents there? Family Bible? Photos? I have copies of some of the pages of the Bible someone put online.

    Thanks for any help,
    Maria Richardson Bowers

    • Maria – My apologies for the delay. It is a pleasure to meet you electronically.

      John Augustus Clay (b.4/10/1810, d.1887) was the eldest child of Jesse Clay, who moved from Monticello, Georgia (Jasper County) to what became Kirkwood, Georgia in about 1824. He founded the Clay Cemetery at some point though we are only aware of the earliest marked burial thee in 1861. John Augustus is not known to be buried there and we have not seen him in the inventories we have of the larger historical cemeteries in the area (Sylvester, Stamps-Parker, Hollywood, Oakland Cemeteries). The same is true of Milton Clay.

      There is a strong possibility that John Augustus and Milton (particularly the latter) may be buried in Atlanta’s Westview Cemetery. It has a fairly large Clay family plot of Jesse Clay Sr.’s descendants. Unfortunately there is no online inventory of graves at Westview, which is the largest public cemetery in the Southeast.

      Clay Cemetery has no paper records other than what we have compiled. This is in part because it was a family and not a church burial ground. We would love it if you could share the Bible pages you found.
      We would be happy to host a visit by you to the cemetery, as well as share what data we have that may be helpful.

      Feel free to contact me any time!
      Earl Williamson, RN

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