Special to the News
On Saturday, February 27, the C.C.T.S./J.D. Thompson Alumni Association continued to work toward their mission statement, “Preserving our Legacy while Restoring our Community,” by cleaning up the cemetery located behind the red brick building on the school property in Cottage Grove.
The J.D. Thompson Economic Development Committee was a major partner in the cleanup effort, and additional support was provided by community volunteers.
The cemetery is the final resting place for the school’s founder, John R. Savage; Nov. 16, 1870 – Oct. 27, 1910; founder of the Coosa County Training School in Cottage Grove, the first training school in Alabama and the South.
The C.C.T.S./J.D. Thompson Alumni Association was awarded a grant from the Alabama Historic Commission. This grant will enable them to preserve the history of the cemetery with fencing and signage.
The Alumni Association developed a cleanup plan based on information referenced in “Alabama’s Historic Cemeteries: A Basic Guide to Preservation.” The major focus of the project was assessing the cemetery needs and analyzing how to carefully cleanup and preserve the history of the cemetery property.
They were able to remove some fallen limbs and cut small bushes and trees to prevent future damage to the cemetery. Although the cemetery has headstones marked 1910, there is evidence of graves marked with stones suggesting the cemetery was possibly founded as early as the late 1800s.
The group is off to a great start and plans to schedule additional cleanup dates. The Alumni Association would like to thank everyone that participated in the cleanup effort: Oliver Jennings, Tyrone Parker, Anthony Borden, Felix Maxwell, Sheryl Borden, Unzell Kelley, JoAnn Shealey, JoEtta Maxwell, and Mamie Ellis.