Originally created 04/11/98

Society looks for project



Hidden behind a wooden fence in a small plot overgrown with weeds, Peter Crawford's gravestone is cracked into a dozen shards, and the lettering is so worn, it's no longer legible.

The stone slab marking the grave of his wife Mary looks worse.

But the state of the Crawfords' graves may be the focus of the Columbia County Historical Society's next project, according to president Pat Moore.

"We have some photographs of the grave site and headstones before they were messed up," she said, "and this is something we've been wanting to do for about 15 years."

Mr. Crawford, Columbia County's first clerk of court, died in office as a state senator in 1830, according to local historian Charles Lord.

He was the father of George Walker Crawford, who was Georgia's governor from 1843 to 1847.

The graves of the Crawfords, which are now surrounded by Maple Creek subdivision, were vandalized years ago. The historical society could use a $7,500 state grant, which was allotted in the midterm state budget, to pay for new headstones for the graves.

Now, society members have to decide how to spend the money.

Another possible use of the money may be repairs to the old jailhouse in Appling, Mrs. Moore said. The historical society uses the otherwise deserted 72-year-old building for its monthly meetings, and some old county records are temporarily stored there.

"We need to paint, and we want to replace that metal door on the front of the jail with a window like it was originally," she said. "We also plan to install new locks on the jail."