Originally created 11/23/04

9 graves found at development site



A planned Evans development called Marshall Square was named after a longtime Columbia County family, but the recent discovery of at least nine graves there has caused two other names to surface.

Speaking at a Columbia County planning and development services committee meeting Monday, Robin Bechtel, a senior planner for Columbia County, told committee members that at least nine graves - four of them marked - have been found on the Marshall Square development property near Industrial Park Drive. Developers are asking the county for approval to have the graves moved to nearby church cemeteries, committee members were told.

Ms. Bechtel said the names on the marked graves are Marshall Keith; his daughter Mary Isham Jones; her husband, William Jones, who was a cotton gin maker from Wales; and their son Thomas Isham Jones. Ms. Bechtel said that there are indentations where the remaining graves are and that they are presumed to be the resting place of slaves.

The dates of those buried there, she said, vary from 1841 to 1867.

Jeff Browning, the county's planning director, told committee members that those involved in the Marshall Square development have abided by all requirements.

"I was amazed ... at how everything was done. Everything was just on track," he said.

Ms. Bechtel said attempts to contact relatives had been made, but no one has showed interest.

Marshall Square will cover more than 57 acres off North Belair Road and will include high-end retail offerings and residential space, with its first phase expected to begin early next year.

Reach Preston Sparks at 868-1222, ext. 115, or preston.sparks@augustachronicle.com.

Grave relocations

Residents can attend a public hearing on the proposed relocation of nine graves at the Columbia County Commission's meeting at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 7.