ROCK SPRING CEMETERY BY BILL SEAY
The historic Rock Spring Presbyterian Church is a well-known historic landmark in Piedmont Heights, but the small adjacent cemetery receives scant notice. The one-acre plot was donated by church member Daniel Liddell Plaster shortly after the founding of the Church in 1870. The exact date is lost, but the oldest gravestones are dated 1874. It is said that the cemetery was “given” to the church, but there are no records to that effect. The 84 plots in the little cemetery are all privately owned.
For the first 90 years of its existence, the cemetery was voluntarily maintained by the church’s parishioners, although haphazardly and only on infrequent “clean-up” days. Over time it became so badly overgrown with weeds, shrubs, and vines that one could hardly distinguish the individual grave sites or read the markers.
In 1961 the Rock Spring Cemetery Association, Inc., was founded and a trust fund established to insure its preservation, beautification, and upkeep. The surrounding wrought iron fence was repaired where it had been damaged by cars and the City agreed to fund half the cost of installing curbs and sidewalks along the adjacent streets. Nevertheless, over time maintenance slowly declined once more until the Association was revitalized in 1999 and a self-sustaining, permanent year- round maintenance program put into place. A small plot in the back of the cemetery was also set aside and dedicated as a Memorial Garden for the interment of ashes of the deceased. The little cemetery currently contains approximately 550 graves plus an unknown number of unmarked burials.