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Stories of Atlanta

Unknown stories of everyday people

At the intersection of Memorial Drive and Boulevard sits Oakland Cemetery, the City of Atlanta’s first official burial grounds. Established in 1850 on an original six acres of land, Oakland now spans 48 acres and is home to thousands of residents. Among them are names familiar to most generations of Atlantans, a “who’s who” of notable Atlanta citizenry.

But most of Oakland’s residents do not fall into the household name category. They, like so many of us, were just regular folks working to pay the bills, raise their families and live their lives… people like Roderick Badger, a former slave who, after the Civil War, established a dental practice in downtown Atlanta… and Dougherty Hutchins, a barber who gave a young Alonzo Herndon his first job cutting hair.

Oakland is the final resting place of Clyde King who established the King Plow company, and Jacob Elsas who built the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill. And there’s Moses Formwalt, Atlanta’s 1st mayor who, after serving his mayoral term, took a job as a Sheriff’s Deputy in DeKalb County and was killed in a knife attack while transporting a prisoner. Oakland Cemetery is where you’ll find Julia Carlisle Withers, who has the distinction of being the 1st baby born in the City of Atlanta and Carrie Berry Crumley, who, as a 10-year old, kept a very informative diary during the siege of Atlanta.

Oakland Cemetery is truly a treasure for the City of Atlanta and, if you haven’t paid a visit in a while, consider stopping by and seeing for yourself the inspirations for this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”



  1. May B. Hollis January 31, 2023 11:04 am

    The cemetery is actually 48 acres, not 88.Report

    1. Jennifer Russell February 1, 2023 9:35 am

      Thanks for catching that! It was a typo on our part… and it has been corrected!Report

  2. John Cherry February 3, 2023 9:47 am

    My great grandfather, John W. Cherry, married Ms. Withers daughter who is also buried in the family plot. His name is on the headstone as well.Report


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