Cedar Grove Church-Upson County, Georgia

The Cedar Grove Church, now the home of the Exceedingly Grateful Ministries, is on the outskirts of Thomaston, Georgia. I believe this was once an AME Church. The cemetery dates back at least 100 years. When I visited this cemetery, I found a few things to be fascinating. First, the Happy Birthday letters were a first. I have certainly seen birthday mementos left behind, but it was the first for these. Unfortunately, I believe it must have been a recent death because I could not find a name.

These headstones were clearly made by the same person. My assumption is that it must be a family member. I wonder if they were made at different times over the years or if they were all made at once. I am leaning toward the fact that they were made at different times. Horace Sparks (1941-1988), Junior Sparks (1914-1992), Mary Robinson (1914-1994), Johnny Sparks (1963-1993), Jessica Spark (1984-2005), and Debra Denise Colbert (1967-2011) are close to each other in the cemetery. Due to several being born after 1950, census records are not available yet for later years to see the connection.

Johnny Sparks was hit by a driver who fled the scene. This is the first time I’ve seen a photograph embedded in a vernacular marker.

In addition to the Sparks family markers, I found two markers made with marbles and two more Eldren Bailey markers. I also found a marker that has the letters S A D O M A M S. This is a first for me. There are other markers in the cemetery with this, and it stands for Sons and Daughters of the Mary and Martha Society, which was a mutual aid society that was tied to specific churches. While the roots are in the Catholic faith, other faiths did work under that moniker.

If you notice the word SADOMAMS, that stands for the Sons and Daughters of the Mary and Martha Society.

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