Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery History

Red Top Mountain Road, Cartersville, Georgia
Church History
Published in The Dallas New Era
Dallas, Georgia

Thursday, October 8, 1992

Submitted by:  , Transcribed by: 

Young Deer was born in 1790 in a cabin beside a creek in an area now located in Forsyth County, Georgia. This lovely creek was named in his honor and is still known as Young Deer Creek. His parents were Cherokee Indians. At a young age, this famous Cherokee Indian boy could see, hear and run fast like a deer and due to these characteristics, he became known as Young Deer. He had a beautiful sister name Susannah who married William Hendricks.

Young Deer was a very handsome man, married Winnie Tidwell, daughter of John and Celia Tidwell, and they had a son named John Youngdeer Tidwell a/k/a Indian John Tidwell. Indian John Tidwell married Elizabeth “Betsy” Gravett and they had three children, namely: (1) Calitie “Winnie” who married?, (2) Mansell who married Rachel Levell and (3) Jeanett Cheness who married David D. Dudley. His first wife died in 1837. Indian John Tidwell married Lucretia Thompson in 1841 and they had fourteen children, namely: (1) Pleasant who married Martha Carnes, (2) Loduskey Ann who married John W. Brown; (3) Mary A. who married (a) William H. White and (b) Thomas A. Sheffield, (4) Grace Arminda who married Samuel L. Hughes, (5) Versonoy who married William Dunaway, (6) John Granville who married?, (7) Marney Clementine who married Thomas A. Sheffield, (8) Safrona Caroline who married (a) Mack Forsyth (b) Thomas Brown and (c) William Ledford, (8) William E. Tidwell who married Mary Clonts, (9) Pennington W. who married?, (11) Martha L. who died at age 1 in 1864, (12) Minor L.
who married (a) Alice Lovelace and (b) Evelyn Nell Henderson, (13) Leroy J. Tidwell who died while an infant in 1868 and (14) Ada Tobitha “Bitty” who married William Battles.

According to Rev. Frances M. Summey, the Bethany Baptist Church was founded many years prior to 1903 and the church records back of 1903 are missing. As per records of the Georgia Department of Archives and History and other sources, the Bethany Baptist Church was founded in about 1840 which was the next year after the conclusion of the tragic Trail of Tears in 1839. The Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery contains about 320 graves and most of them are marked with uninscribed, simple field stones. The Indian and Slave Section of the cemetery is located in the west part of it. A large amount of the west part is covered with beautiful oak and pine trees and the area once contained several (oval-shaped piles of stones and soil) graves of Indians of the Mississippi Culture or earlier cultures. It is interesting to note that some of these ancient Indian placed objects in the graves of their dead because they believed in “the concept of life after death” as early as 1000 B.C. and possibly sooner. Many treasure hunters were aware of this fact. Unfortunately, culprits robbed these old Indian graves prior to 1945 as none of these oval-shaped burial sites have been visible there since that time.

The Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery is located on Red Top Mountain and is surrounded by Allatoona Lake and Red Top Mountain State Park. According to the famous book entitled: Cherokee Planters In Georgia 1832-1838 by Professor Don L. Shadburn, P. O. Box 762, Cumming, Georgia 30130, the Cherokees established Allatoona Town in this area and many of them resided there prior to 1838. Much of the area is now covered by the water of Allatoona Lake including the lovely spring mentioned below.

Down the slope of Red Top Mountain below the Bethany Baptist Church Cemetery there was a lovely spring whose crystal clear water was used by the Cherokees. According to Mrs. Amanda “Tooni” Dudley Cochran, Young Deer and other Cherokee often knelt in the cemetery and/or at the spring and prayed a famous prayer as follows: “Let me walk in beauty and make my eyes behold the red and purple sunset. Make my hand respect the things you have made, my ears sharp to hear your voice. Make me wise, so that I may know the things you have taught my people, the lessons you have hidden in every rock and leaf.”

Mr. Benjamin Parks was hunting for deer on Finley Ridge near Dahlonega and “stumped his toe and out rolled a lump of gold which was as big as a large hen egg!” The news about the discovery of gold spread very rapidly and in 1828 about 5,000 people illegally entered the Cherokee Indian Nation in search of gold. They were motivated by the adage: “There is gold in them thar hills.” Many of the Cherokees were robbed and killed. According to Mrs. Susannah Hendricks, a sister of Young Deer, he failed to return home one night in 1828 and while searching for him the next morning, they found the body of Young Deer beside the lovely spring. He had died of gun shot wounds.

Mr. Joey Tidwell has ordered a beautiful inscribed tombstone and will erect it soon on the grave of Young Deer his beloved ancestor, as a replacement of the uninscribed field stone which has marked it since 1828. Also, Mrs. Jerri Rogers Chasteen, a descendant, who resides at 1120 Cottonwood Court, Pryor, Oklahoma 74361, plans to write a book about Young Deer and his descendants and would like for all living descendants to mail their family genealogical charts to her for inclusion in the new book.

This article was written by Mrs. Naomi Corley Holland and Atty. Hubert G. Holland, 7 Atlanta Street, Marietta, Georgia 30060, on September 20, 1992, from data furnished by the Georgia Department of Archives and History, National Archives, Georgia Room of the Paulding County Public Library, Mrs. Bette Brown Dunn, Mrs. Malinda Clevenger, Mrs. Jennie Mae Canup Cantrell, Mr. J. C. Canup, Mrs. Jerri Rogers Chasteen, Mrs. Charlotte Fuller Clonts, Mr. Harold Dudley, Mrs. Betty Cochran Hoptroff, Mrs. Lillie Mae Price Prather, Mrs. Billie Hawkins Richards, Mr. George J. Rogers, Professor Don L. Shadburn, Mrs. Naomi Shelton Smith, Mr. Jeff Stancil, Rev. Francis M. Summey, Mr. Joey Tidwell, Mr. Billy L. Townsend and other very kind and intelligent people.

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