Chattanooga Valley Baptist Church Cemetery

Find A Grave volunteers take photos of grave sites around the world, from small family plots to large city cemeteries. The photos go online in a “memorial” to the deceased. Family members can add biographical information and virtual flowers to the memorial of their loved one.

After using the site for many years, I decided to create an account to be able to add photos at the request of people who are learning about their ancestors. It is really easy to click on the “Contribute” tab and add memorials or upload photos to the website.

Today my goal was to respond to several “photo requests” in my area. There were three graves in the Chattanooga Valley Baptist Church Cemetery which had memorials on Find A Grave but no photograph. I clicked on the cemetery profile and found that 85% of the graves had photographs, so I set out to find out about the remaining 15%.

The cemetery is located near Chattanooga, Tennessee, and is on the site of the old Baptist Church, about half a mile south of the new church on Old Chattanooga Valley Road. It was a small, country cemetery, with about 800 graves dating from about 1900 to present. With my husband’s help, I divided the cemetery into quadrants and made notes about the condition of the headstones.

We were looking for the headstones of Charles Cate (1858-1935) and Sarah Cate (1867-1930) in addition to Sarah Deakins (1852-1924). There were about a hundred headstones from that time period of the 1920s or 1930s, but none belonged to the people we were looking for.

I took photographs of standing headstones which were so weathered that no carved words could be seen, and these can be shared with the people who requested photos to give them an idea of the situation.

In the far corner from the gate, with a beautiful view of a creek and several large old trees, was a pile of broken headstones. These probably matched the headstone bases which we found without any information carved into them. The broken fragments were partly buried in piles of leaves and dirt, and we didn’t have the necessary tools to safely move them without potentially damaging the fragile stone.

I plan to contact the church this week and get permission to work with those broken headstones. There are another twelve photo requests for an old cemetery up on Lookout Mountain which we will plan to visit soon and see if we can take pictures of headstones for those who are searching for information about their ancestors.

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