Trinity Atkins

Today, Friendship-Puckett Cemetery can be found south of Cartersville along Highway 293 and Old River Road near the Etowah River. Joe Head, the Etowah Valley Historical Society Vice President, and EVHS served as the beneficiary for my Eagle Scout Project at this site.

Trinity Atkins at Friendship Cemetery

Friendship Cemetery – Trinity Atkins

News Clipping of Friendship Cemetery

News Clipping of Friendship Cemetery

On February 26, 1843, the First Presbyterian Church of Cartersville was organized by Reverend Charles Wallace Howard. This original plot of land was given to the church by a well-known farmer of Cartersville, Arnold Milner. He gifted this land to family and friends to use as a church and cemetery. Only five people were associated with the organization at the time: Arnold Milner, his wife Lucy, Mrs. Woods, Henry Milner, and Richard Andrew Milner.  His son Richard served as the first pastor until his death in 1852. The original building was a small wooden platform with benches and pulpit, both handmade. Services were held during the day and night. The night services were held by candlelight. Throughout the next ten years, new members joined. The slaves of various members would attend as well. As the congregation grew, Cartersville became a more prominent town along the railroad and Friendship was looking to expand. Now was the opportune time to become the first Presbyterian church in town. The congregation relocated into town in 1853. Not until 1887 was the name was changed to The First Presbyterian Church of Cartersville. This congregation is the second oldest in Cartersville.

Confederate grave site in Friendship Cemetery

Confederate grave site in Friendship Cemetery

The cemetery has two names, Friendship and Puckett. Friendship is the original name given by the church who congregated here. Later it would also be known as Puckett after Edmund Douglas Puckett, a neighbor of the Milners. He owned 1,700 acres of land along the Etowah. Buried at Friendship are the remains of farmers from the area, most of them belonging to families who owned some of the surrounding land.  such as the Milners, Pucketts, Kennedys, Jones, and McGuires. Historical documents lead some to believe that even Emsley Emerson, the founder of Emerson, is buried here along with his wife and two children. It is said that many slaves were also buried here at will after the church left. Many, being poor, used rocks as markings for their graves. This cemetery also likely serves as the final resting place for many killed at Allatoona Battle Pass during the Civil War. Their remains are said to have been transported from the Pass by train. This is very likely due to the proximity of the Pass and railroad to this location. Theories include the possibility of a “mass grave” with an undisclosed number of Confederate soldiers. Family burials continued here until the 1960s. Today there are approximately 100 marked graves and many more unmarked, possibly adding up to around 400.

News Clipping of Friendship restoration project

Ever since the relocation of the church in 1853, Friendship has suffered vandalism and extreme overgrowth. Large trees grow out of some of the graves and many dead trees are scattered throughout which risk the condition of these historical artifacts. Many of the headstones are broken, worn down, and some of the names are hardly visible. Scorch markings can be found on the bases of many trees in the cemetery. Many of these markings are a result of a fire that swept through the area in 2001. This cemetery is not the only of its kind in Bartow County. There are others that have undergone similar issues such as unmarked graves, overgrowth, and vandalism. (Picture above- March 2003)

For years residents of Bartow have expressed their concerns to the county and the Etowah Valley Historical Society. Although EVHS placed the sign along 293, contrary to popular belief, they are not the proprietor. There is no true proprietor, and nobody claims responsibility. Groups such as EVHS and The Boy Scouts of America have made conscious efforts to preserve this piece of history here in Bartow County. Clean ups such as these have not only begun recently but near the cemetery’s beginnings,

 “All citizens of Cartersville and vicinity are earnestly requested to meet at the old Presbyterian or Puckett graveyard next Sat., 13th inst, at 9 o’clock a.m. prepared to clean up and put same in a shape consistent with our duty to the dead.

Many of the best citizens of the city and county are buried there. Let us not longer neglect the resting place of their remains,” (Feb. 11, 1892, The Courant-American)

Friendship Cemetery Among the trees

Friendship Cemetery Among the trees

Sadly, without consistent maintenance, the underbrush grows back and most progress is lost. There has been talk for years of installing gravel and erecting a fence, but action has yet to be taken. The gate has remained locked until only recently as there is new construction surrounding this plot of land.

The layout of Friendship Cemetery

As of 2021, the property surrounding the cemetery has been purchased and the land is now being developed into 3 distribution warehouses. The new development will soon install a small parking area and driveway which will improve public access to the cemetery. Through my project I have learned so much about the history of Friendship/Puckett and Cartersville’s beginnings. I encourage this company to consider undertaking the upkeep of Friendship Cemetery so it will be kept for future generations to enjoy.

Friendship Cemetery Map

Friendship Cemetery Map


Bartow Neighbor- Cemetery restoration revealing ‘buried history’

by Kathrine Strawn, Feb. 12, 2003

Bartow Neighbor- Unmarked Territory

by Tara Baker, Aug. 25, 2004

Daily Tribune- Long needed cemetery cleanup uncovers history

by Frances Phillips, PIN 3-13-03

First Presbyterian Church: Cartersville, Georgia- A Sesquicentennial History

Edited by Lizette H. Entwisle and Emily T. Gilreath

Friendship Cemetery

EVHS Volume 54, Jan. 2005

Old Friendship Presbyterian Church Cemetery- Also known as the Puckett Cemetery

by Everett G. Roberts Jr., 1992

The Courant-American- Old Presbyterian Cemetery

Feb. 11, 1892

The History of Bartow County- Formerly Cass

by Lucy Josephine Cunyus

Picture 4 and 5

EVHS Newsletters

Picture 7 and 8

Southland Engineering development maps

Deed can be found in deed book 3, page 290

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