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Trenton in Dade County, Georgia — The American South (South Atlantic)
 

Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery

Historic Dade County

 
 
Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Leah Tibbs, September 29, 2018
1. Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker
Inscription.  William Isham Cole was born May 7, 1805. He married Lovina Clark about the same time as the Treaty of New Echota between the U.S. Government and the Cherokee Nation that ended all Native land claims in the State of Georgia. Cole took advantage of this situation, and moved with his new wife to what is now Dade County, Georgia. The Cole family first lived just north of Morganville. In 1850, William Isham Cole bought extensive acreage in Sligo Valley and established one of the finest plantations in the County. Their original house was built of logs, and consisted of two large rooms with a huge limestone fireplace. A later frame addition consisted of five more rooms, two stone chimneys, and four fireplaces.

Cole was a prosperous planter at the time of the 1860 Federal census, living with his wife and three children. With a plantation on Squirrel Town Creek, he was one of the best-known slave owners in Dade County. He had a deserved reputation for fair treatment of his slaves, and once paid considerably more to keep a young man from being separated from his family.

During the late summer of 1863, when it had became apparent that
Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Leah Tibbs, September 29, 2018
2. Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker
a major Federal army was coming towards Dade County, William Cole became concerned about the future of his slaves. He feared that the Federal soldiers would force them to leave the plantation, or in some way harm them. To avoid this possibility, he decided to send them all to south Alabama for the duration of the war. He placed a mature woman named Adaline, (he called her "Ad") in charge of the group, giving her a thousand dollars in gold, and telling her to use it if necessary to keep them together and to return to the plantation after the war.

The war devastated Cole's plantation and left William I. Cole destitute. He often wondered what had become of his slaves that he had sent south. Then, one day as he was looking down the lane he saw a band of Negroes coming toward the house. As they drew closer, he could see that Adaline led them. Although they were no longer slaves, all of the faithful Blacks had come home. Adaline opened her small bundle of possessions and return to Cole all of the thousand dollars in gold that he had trusted her with during the war. He was able to use the money to rebuild the plantation.

As was the custom on most plantations of the day, a cemetery was established on a hill side about a quarter of a mile from the main house. This became the Bethlehem Cemetery. On the upper left side of the cemetery there are a large number of graves
Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By David Tibbs, September 29, 2018
3. Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker
that are only marked by small rectangular stones. Most of these small stones at the Bethlehem Cemetery mark the graves of former slaves who lived and worked on the plantation and their descendants.
 
Erected by Georgia Civil War Commission and State of Dade Camp 707, S.C.V.
 
Location. 34° 56.343′ N, 85° 29.051′ W. Marker is in Trenton, Georgia, in Dade County. Marker is on Slygo Road (County Route 143) 0.3 miles south of Hales Gap Road (County Route 200), on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1951 Slygo Road, Trenton GA 30752, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Running Water Creek Bridge (approx. 4.6 miles away in Tennessee); Trenton (approx. 4.8 miles away); Dade County (approx. 4.8 miles away); Chief Wauhatchie’s Home (approx. 5.2 miles away); Tennessee AMVETS Veterans Memorial (approx. 6.1 miles away in Tennessee); Civil War in Tennessee (approx. 6.1 miles away in Tennessee); Federal-Georgia Road (approx. 6.2 miles away in Tennessee); Raccoon Mountain (approx. 7.1 miles away in Tennessee). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Trenton.
 
Categories. African AmericansCemeteries & Burial SitesChurches & ReligionWar, US Civil
 
Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker image. Click for full size.
By Leah Tibbs, September 29, 2018
4. Cole Plantation and Bethlehem Cemetery Marker
 

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Credits. This page was last revised on May 28, 2019. This page originally submitted on May 27, 2019, by David Tibbs of Resaca, Georgia. This page has been viewed 87 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on May 27, 2019, by David Tibbs of Resaca, Georgia. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.
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