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Society dedicates gates at Sunbury Cemetery
'Nothing is really ended until it is forgotten'
Former Midway mayor Don Emmons describes the cemetery’s importance to tourism in Liberty County. Behind him, GDAC’s State Regent C. Martelia Cunningham and the GDAC’s 1st Vice-Regent Marguerite Fogleman listen attentively to what Emmons has to say. - photo by Photo by Frenchi Jones
Members of the Georgia Society Daughters of the American Colonists from across the state filed into a dew-laden area in front of Sunbury’s Colonial Sunbury Cemetery Saturday morning. The pre-Revolutionary park’s gates were being dedicated.
Clouds of fog rolled away just in time as 40 GDAC members and supporters lifted their voices and bowed their heads in prayer to honor the $2,500 steel and bronze gates erected at the site in recent months.
“Lord … we’re grateful for the early settlers of our state who braved many dangers and obstacles, but never gave up in creating a life and a home in this land,” State DAC Chaplain Carolyn Latimer said. “We pray your blessings upon the dedication of this new gate. May it be a thing of honor and remembrance of those who are buried here.”
Thirty-four colonists currently have markings identifying them as being laid to rest at the site, but many more are said to be buried there, according to the GDAC.
“There are many sites, such Sunbury, that are  in need of love and attention, but this one, of course, is significant due to the town of Sunbury being built in 1758, pre Revolutionary,” said C. Martelia Cunningham, GDAC’s state regent.
According to members of the GDAC, the cemetery is more than 250 years old, but its national recognition was not noted until the 1980s when the organization’s former state regent, Helen Boyd, helped get the site registered as a national spot of historical interests.
“You can’t help but believe that God has three ladies smiling down today … Helen Boyd, Carolyn Quackenbush and Sue Dunn,” said Barbara Martin, state chairwoman for the Sunbury cemetery and vice-regent for the St. John’s Parish DAC.
Martin, who lives near the cemetery, and her sister Carolyn Martin Kelly and former Mayor Don Emmons represented Liberty County at the event.
“These gates are the cream on top of everything that has happened here thus far,” Martin said. “We have people from throughout the nation who come to visit this cemetery. I think our work has been well worth it.”
Before onlookers were allowed to pass through the gates to walk the grounds and read markers, they were reminded one last time of the historical sacrifices made for the ceremony’s allowance.
“Nothing is really ended until it is forgotten,” Latimer said. “Whatever is kept in memory endures ...”
“Therefore we, the Georgia State Society Daughters of American Colonists, dedicate this marker in grateful recognition of the significance of this place …” Cunningham said. “May it help keep alive an appreciation of our heritage of a good and beautiful land of this nation.”
Lynn Brackey, regent of the Dr. Andrew Turnbull Chapter of the DAC, said her trip from Roswell was well worth the it.
“When you think about the men and women who left their countries …it just makes you think that if it hadn’t been for them we wouldn’t have the lives we have today.”

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