“The cemetery rests deeply nestled on the edge of Monroe’s downtown with many unknowingly passing by a rich history of fellowship, joy, loss, community, and slavery, on their daily commutes into town,” Alanna King wrote in an article on the efforts to revive the Zion Hill Cemetery in Monroe for the latest issue of Walton Living Magazine. “If not for Elizabeth Jones, the history might have remained buried deep within the ground as generations passed and the history was long forgotten. Luckily, the Monroe citizen and First African Black Church member saw a need to reveal and preserve the African-American history of her town and got to work. Jones is currently pursuing her third master’s degree from the University of Georgia in historic preservation, and while working on a mill project she caught wind of the abandoned cemetery on Alcovy Road.”
Jones has been working on the project for several months with the help of a group of volunteers. Her hope is that cleaning and restoring the cemetery will bring people together and that revealing the hidden history of the cemetery will bring peace to many, like the recent reveal of the grave for Easter Crew who was born in 1861 and dies in 1935.
“She purchased multiple tracts of land in Monroe. In the year 1892, she borrowed $200.00 from a Southern Home Building and Loan Association, initially making payments of $1.20 a month, and increasing to $2.00 a month,” Jones wrote on the Facebook page for Friends Easter Crew’s name was on a parcel associated with the Colored Baptist Tabernacle. (Note: The name on the gravestone is Easter Crew, but the deeds seem to be signed “Esther Crew.”)
Click or tap on this link for the full story by Alanna King in the online issue of Walton Living Magazine or pick up a copy at any library or city hall in Walton County or at the Chamber of Commerce. There are also copies in several businesses, stores and professional offices in Walton County.
For current updates on the project and to find out how you can become involved, follow the progress on the Friends of Zion Hill Cemetery Facebook Page.