Descendants to appeal Barnesville cemetery move

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The plan to relocate remains from a historic Lamar County cemetery will likely end up in court.

Cynthia Wadsworth, whose family members are buried in the Wadsworth-Clayton Cemetery, said Monday she is in the process of securing an attorney to file an appeal in superior court.

"We have 30 days to appeal their decision to dig people up," Wadsworth explained.

Thursday, the Lamar County Board of Commissioners narrowly approved a cemetery permit for the City of Barnesville to remove the more than one hundred bodies on the site and move them to the Greenwood Cemetery.

Commissioners were split 2-2 on whether to approve the permit.

"In today's world everything's offensive to us. Everything's so offensive, but yet, this is not offensive? It's just wrong. It's wrong in every sense of the word and that's why I voted against it," said Commissioner Nancy Thrash.

Commission Chairman Charles Glass cast the tie-breaking vote to approve the project.

"I think I understand their concerns and their problems, but it's an abandoned cemetery," said Chairman Glass. "They're not in a good place now. There's not an area where somebody can go and honor them and treat them with the respect and dignity they deserve. I think we have a better chance of that if we move them to Greenwood Cemetery for current generations and future generations."

Thrash questions the need for such a move. The city of Barnesville filed their permit application on May 31, writing the cemetery "is threatened by proposed industrial development." Chairman Glass, however, said there is no memorandum of understanding or any other paperwork on file for a pending sale of the land based on the relocation of the graves.

"There's no specific development that's already signed an agreement or anything," said Glass. "Several projects have been interested in the area in the past. The cemetery's always been a problem for them. We felt like we were getting closer to one that it was time to do that. I think the city feels like they have the money to handle it right now and I don't know if there's going to be a better time to do that."

Glass said he did not know what the cost would be to move the remains.

Wadsworth set up a fundraising page to help pay the legal fees associated with the appeal.

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