Old Rico Community Cemetery
Where Lies John Cash?
Old Rico Cemetery is a mystery. Very little is really known about its history and origins. About a year ago, a chance encounter set a Chatt Hills resident on a path to unravel some of its mysteries in order to solve another mystery. Where lies John Cash?
The Old Rico Community Cemetery has also been called the Piney Woods Cemetery (not to be confused with Piney Woods Church Cemetery), and the Griffith Cemetery.)
The Old Rico Community Cemetery is located on two parcels of private property on the west side of Rico Rd across from the Rico Ball Park at Upper Wooten Rd.
Little is known about this cemetery, its secrets of the past long buried with elders who once lived in this community.
According to Mrs. Dorothy “Dot” Stevens, who gave an oral interview in September 2009 (before her passing), the cemetery was already there when she moved to Rico in 1941.
Miss Dot said, “My Daddy’s property included that cemetery. And so when they paved Rico Rd, they wanted to straighten it out so Daddy swapped property and that cemetery had a lot of big tall tombstones, but I don’t remember any of the names. And it was called Piney Woods, just like that one on beyond where John (Smith’s) Store is (on Kite Rd). People stole the tombstones. I don’t know whether there’s any at all in there now.” Miss Dot also said there was just one house on the corner and the cemetery was in an open field.
The local lore today still repeats the tale that the tombstones were stolen. Some say a local contractor used the stones in his building business. Others give a benefit of a doubt since some stones didn’t look like grave markers, they may have been innocently used for other purposes.
In 2017, one of the property owners discovered some grave stones had been used for fillers in a sidewalk on his property. He only realized this when he received a panicked call from a contractor who was putting in a new side walk and discovered an engraved marker.
While surveying the cemetery in 2018, only two inscribed tombstones were found.
The first tombstone, which lays in several pieces, may have been one of the tall tombstones referred to by Miss Dot. It is inscribed, “G.W. Griffith, Jan 12, 1836-Aug 22, 1864.
The second tombstone was one found under the sidewalk last year, apparently used as filler rocks. It is inscribed, Burson Sept 25, 1846-Feb 1, 1899.
Atlanta historian Franklin M. Garrett recorded this cemetery on May 17, 1941. He listed several more tombstone including J.N. Griffith, Elizabeth Burson with the same date as above, and William Langley and Finity Kitchen, great-grandparents of resident Ken Langley.
When resident Tom Reed surveyed the cemetery in 2009, he counted approximately 70 grave markers, which included unmarked box tombs, a family crypt, inscribed makers, and primitive rock markers.
In 2020, a chance encounter set resident Ken Langley on a path to unravel some of its mysteries in order to solve another mystery. Where lies John Cash? [Read More]