Stephen Martin Cemetery

Stephen Martin Cemetery (c:  1847)

244 Perimeter Center Parkway, NE, Dunwoody, GA 30346
Year Built: 1859
DeKalb Co., GA,
District: #18, Land Lot:  348
GPS (Lat./Long):  N33° 55.136’  W084°  20.500’

Current Use: Historical Cemetery

Historical Background: Family cemetery of Mr. Stephen Martin, who married a member of the Spruill family, is located between commercial development at the Hammond Drive/Perimeter Center Parkway intersection and I-285. Many of the plots are unmarked or marked by unlabeled rock mounds or walls. Others feature traditional headstones.

Update: The location of the family burial plot forced a slight rerouting of the perimeter interstate at Ashford Dunwoody Road. The burial ground is accessible from a marked gravel driveway on Perimeter Parkway.

History of Stephen Martin Cemetery:

Sitting quietly between a high rise hotel and a shopping center is a small cemetery that very few folks know about.  The Stephen Martin cemetery is located in between Perimeter Expo, a retail development on Hammond Drive, and I-285.  Access to this cemetery is off of Perimeter Center Pkwy just south of Hammond Drive.   History reports that proximity of the cemetery to the proposed I-285 Interstate forced a slight rerouting of the interstate and Ashford-Dunwoody Road.  An old road running along the south side of the cemetery is still visible today.

The Stephen Martin Cemetery is named for a pioneer who traveled from South Carolina to Dunwoody in the late 1820s.  The land which encompasses Dunwoody was home to the Cherokee Indians prior to cessation and the 1821 Land Lottery.  Stephen and Elizabeth Martin made the journey from Laurens Co. South Carolina, with their first born, James Martin, in search of opportunities to own land in Georgia.   By the time Stephan passed away in the mid-1860s, he had amassed over 400 acres of land.

This family cemetery is home to 42 known burials and 29 other visible graves – mostly those of children (Per Franklin Garrett, 1933).  The earliest known burial here was that of Francis Elizabeth Garrett Martin (1800-1847), while the most recent one was 1992.

There are many unidentified graves in the Stephen Martin cemetery, some marked only with one fieldstone or with a head stone and a foot stone.  Rows four, seven, nine, ten, and eleven have only unidentified graves.  The earliest known burial in 1847, but it is likely some of the unmarked graves are from an earlier date.

Upon entering the cemetery, you will quickly see three stone cairn graves at the front of the cemetery.  These graves belong to Stephen Martin and his two wives.  It is believed his first wife, Frances Elizabeth “Fanny” Garrett, is buried on the right as you view the graves from the kiosk and his second wife, Sarah Crowley Cahela, is buried on the left with Stephen Martin in the middle.  The smaller stone grave to the right of Elizabeth is believed to be one of the children.  Sarah Crowley Martin’s grave at one time had a wooden shingle type cover.

Elizabeth Garrett Martin was born around 1802 in Laurens County, South Carolina and married Stephen Martin in 1819.  Before her death in 1847, she bore him seven children:  James C., “Parthena,” Sarah J., Martha S., Benjamin S., Naomi A., and Sophia C.  After the death of Fanny, Stephen Martin married Sarah Crowley Cahela in 1854.  She bore him three additional children:  Margaret S., Nancy J., and William S Martin.

Fanny and Stephen’s daughter Naomi, known as Omie, married Thomas Franklin Spruill in 1866.  They married about one year after Thomas returned from serving in in the Civil War (Company C, 63rd Georgia Infantry).  Thomas and Omie’s graves, along with four of their children and one grandchild, can be found just north of the kiosk in a row which is surrounded by a stone border.   All of these children died early in life, as was common during this time.

Margaret Spruill, one of Thomas and Naomi’s children, married Moses B. Reeves and they are buried in the second row of the cemetery.  The rows begin at the furthest point away from the kiosk.  The first row only contains one grave, and that is for Edward Keith Moore, whose parents were Huie Keith Pete Moore and Vera Magnolia Reeves.  He is the grandson of Moses and Margaret Reeves and died as an infant.

At the age of 21, Stephen and Fanny Martin’s daughter Sophia married Joseph Spruill in 1864.  and they had eight children.   Their daughter Luvader Spruill married James Tilman Morgan.  In the fifth row of the cemetery are buried Joseph and Sophia Spruill and some of their children, including Sarah Cordelia, William S. Spruill and his wife Tempie, their children Ollis and Lilla Mae, Nolia Spruill and his wife Nina May, and their child Elbert.  Luvader and James Morgan’s child, Homer Morgan, is laid to rest here while his parents and siblings were buried in Turner County, Georgia.

Between 1930 and 1932, Atlanta historian Franklin Garrett recorded all the known cemeteries in DeKalb County, including the Stephen Martin Cemetery.  Seventy-three years later, Phillip B. Anglin, surveyed all of Dunwoody’s cemeteries and published his findings in the book “Dunwoody, Georgia Historic Cemeteries:  Silent Storytellers.”  The listings are shown by rows, with each row numbered and a number for each corresponding grave.  This cemetery has fourteen rows.  Some rows have ten or more graves and others have only one.