“A lot of people [who attend our events] are interested in the actual Cassville area and actually who is buried [in the cemetery] and who lived in [the War Between the States] period [of] time,” said Robert Crowe, president of the Cassville Historical Society. “... A lot of people that still live in this area are kin to these people. They have relatives that [are buried there].
“... As far as the historical part of it, Cassville is the oldest community that was established. It was established in 1832 when they did the land lottery deal and one of the actual lots was set aside to house the county seat, the courthouse. ... Some of the people don’t realize what the rich history is of this area. ... [So Cassville Historical Society’s goal is] to make them aware of the historical significance of Cassville/Bartow County.”
While it was known as the cultural center of northwest Georgia less than 200 years ago, Cassville’s landscape would forever change when Gen. William T. Sherman’s troops burned the town in 1864. While Cassville was under Union occupation since May, it was not destroyed by the 5th Ohio Regiment until Nov. 5.
After the torching, only three churches and three residences remained, some of which were serving as makeshift hospitals. In addition to the town’s transformation, its Confederate Cemetery still shows evidence of the impact that the Civil War had on Cassville, with its display of 300 graves.
Cassville’s downfall re-enforced that Cartersville, which was reaping the economical benefits of having the Western & Atlantic Railroad routed through its downtown, would receive the residents’ vote to become the county seat in 1867.
On Saturday, the Old Cassville Cemetery Tour will feature guides, who dressed in period attire will share stories of soldiers and residents who are buried at the historic site. Starting at 3 p.m., the free event will conclude with refreshments.
Titled Old Cassville Cemetery Luminaries — The Burning of Cassville, the Nov. 2 commemoration will begin about 6 p.m. In addition to paying tribute to the past, the event also will include a bonfire, where participants can roast provided hot dogs and marshmallows. Like Saturday’s offering, the November event is open and free to the public.
“When they burned the town, [the cemetery] was the only place that anybody had to go because the whole town burned except for the three churches and three private residences,” said Cassville Historical Society member Dale Black. “... Back then, in that time, they would construct a little shed over a new grave. ... [One] lady put a quilt up over the grave and that’s where the family slept that night.
“That day, it was cold. It rained and sleeted a little bit Nov. 5, that was when they actually burned the town — Nov. 5, 1864. And after that they never did rebuild the town,” he said, adding during the Cassville’s peak the town featured two colleges and numerous businesses, including four hotels. “The county seat moved to Cartersville in 1867. ... [Through these events, we want the public to learn] how people lived back then and really what happened. They always think of the Civil War being in Virginia and up in that area, but it was here. It was in this county. A lot of troops were here.”
For more information about either event, call Black at 678-800-3214.