Jim Holcomb's Preservation Efforts Result In Cemetery Guardian Award

Thursday, October 24, 2019
Hamilton County resident and local historian Jim Holcomb researches the past in his own way and it seldom includes trips to the library. Holcomb walks the hills and forested trails throughout this region and he discovers and catalogues history, one grave at a time. His quest to find forgotten graves and photograph and record vital information about the individuals buried in often neglected family cemeteries began in 1993 and during the last 26 years, Mr. Holcomb has transcribed more than 60,000 names.
Explaining his love of cemeteries, Mr. Holcomb noted, “Pages rip, ink fades and memories disappear. Cemeteries are better about standing the test of time - - but they don’t last forever.”

Mr. Holcomb was recently honored by the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR and the Hamilton County 200th Birthday Committee with a special award, the Cemetery Guardian Award. “For those of us who love local history and dabble, sometimes seriously, in genealogy, cemetery records are a treasure. Information provided by tombstones and the location of graves and cemeteries often provide clues to residence, possible sources of documentation and potential relationship to others buried in the same cemetery. Providing photographs is an extra gift for those researchers who may not be physically able to access remote locations,” said Hamilton County Official Historian Linda Moss Mines.

Hamilton County records indicate that there are more than 165 documented cemeteries within county borders, but the last official survey of county cemeteries occurred in 1939 as an effort of the WPA (Works Progress Administration), one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Depression Recovery programs. Larger cemeteries, the Citizens Cemetery, the Chattanooga National Cemetery, Shallowford Memorial Gardens and others, are well-documented. Even previously known cemeteries such as the historic Beck Knob Cemetery, the oldest African-American cemetery in Hamilton County, can slowly disappear from public knowledge and documenting large historic cemeteries such as Pleasant Gardens Cemetery on Missionary Ridge can be a daunting task. But, small family cemeteries are often in danger of becoming overgrown or destroyed, in violation of Tennessee cemetery laws.

Mr. Holcomb’s award was presented during a celebration of Harrison’s historic role as the third seat of Hamilton County government, occurring at the Ruritan Club. 

“Hamilton County and those of us who value historic preservation owe Jim Holcomb our gratitude. He is a volunteer historian who is motivated by the urgency of preserving our tangible stone records of life and death.  He is truly our Hamilton County Cemetery Guardian,” said Ms. Mines.

Civil War Sites Preservation Grant Fund Applications Being Accepted

History Sources In Our Area

John Shearer: Detailed History Of Chattanooga Airport Chronicled At Website


The Tennessee Wars Commission, the Tennessee Historical Commission program devoted to preserving the state’s significant military history has announced that they will begin accepting grant applications ... (click for more)

I am taking the risk of not mentioning some of the outstanding authors of articles and books that will inform the readers and new comers to the history of the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia ... (click for more)

If you want to remember the good old days of commercial airline travel related to Chattanooga, a detailed history with a number of photographs and old articles is now posted at the sunshineskies.com ... (click for more)



Memories

Civil War Sites Preservation Grant Fund Applications Being Accepted

The Tennessee Wars Commission, the Tennessee Historical Commission program devoted to preserving the state’s significant military history has announced that they will begin accepting grant applications on Aug. 17 for the Civil War Sites Preservation Fund. The Civil War Sites Preservation Fund, begun in 2013, is a key source for matching funds for the acquisition and preservation ... (click for more)

History Sources In Our Area

I am taking the risk of not mentioning some of the outstanding authors of articles and books that will inform the readers and new comers to the history of the Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia areas. Said oversight is not intentional. Any history of Hamilton County, Tennessee must begin with Dr. James W. Livingood’s 1981 novel “A History of Hamilton County, Tennessee (Memphis ... (click for more)

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Roy Exum: Laughing With Jim Murray

When I was in high school, I would love it when the “Newspapers in Education” would roll around once a week. The Chattanooga Times was a real Godsend because it offered me something interesting to read during class and, man, I would pounce on the paper. I would immediately find the syndicated columnist, Jim Murray, and revel in his every word. He was - and this I believe to this ... (click for more)