Eight pages of text enclosed in a paper cover. No author is listed. Likely author was J.C. Bonner, as he had published an article in the Carroll County Times on 13 March 1941 with near-identical content. A historical note for the Ruby Middlebrooks finding aid asserts that she was the author. Likely, Middlebrooks in her role as Secretary to the University President, assembled the essay by J.C. Bonner into a published format. Copies of this publication are contained in several collections throughout Special Collections. This scanned copy is from the Ruby Middlebrooks papers, LH-0013, Box 1, Folder 10.
Abe Bonner, born on the Thomas Bonner Plantation in 1841. This card represents an image that was taken from an original, perhaps taken around 1941, that was in the possession of Mrs. Jessie Hamrick during a photography project in 1993 called Vanishing Carroll County. This card is located in the Vanishing Carroll County photographs, LH-0015, Box 6, CAR-0025. The CAR number is unique to each image. There is an original or a copy of this image in the Georgia Archives, under a different number, CAR-85, which can be found online. According to other sources, Abe Bonner lived to be 107 years of age.
The University of West Georgia recently sponsored an archaeological survey in a comprehensive mapping project to gather information and gain a cultural understanding of the Thomas Bonner Plantation property that is now the UWG campus. Several scenarios intersected to prompt exploration: preparation of a facilities fiber installation project on campus activating discussion of potential disturbance to the area; a community member coming forth in a community forum to suggest the ground near Melson Hall could potentially be the location of a cemetery; and the recent launch of the UWG History Project as an avenue for proper data collection and preservation of the institution and region’s rich history, should historical resources be located.
Under consultation with the Georgia Office of the State Archaeologist, UWG sponsored an archaeological survey to be conducted by Southern Research, Historical Preservation Consultants Inc. as the first step in an ongoing project of discovery. After several rounds of ground and soil strata testing, ground-penetrating radar, and archaeological exploration, Southern Research HPC identified anomalies in the soil suggesting the presence of possible graves. This immediately prompted us to notify descendant family members of the enslaved persons of the Thomas Bonner Plantation.
UWG, in consultation with the University System of Georgia and the Georgia Office of the State Archaeologist, will continue to explore and verify findings. As we unite with the descendant family members of the enslaved persons of the Thomas Bonner Plantation to learn more about the rich history of this campus area, we also invite community members to assist with sharing their historical accounts to collectively bring honor and reverent remembrance to this endeavor. Our Center for Public History is working with the Center for Diversity and Inclusion and other campus officials to actively collect information.
The project's full title is “Along the Ridge: Reflections on a 19th Century Cemetery on the University of West Georgia Campus.” The phrase “Along the Ridge” was taken from an excerpt written by Abe Bonner, an enslaved laborer on Thomas Bonner Plantation, in his “Reminiscences.” Bonner wrote that slave quarters were strung “along the ridge” on the property that eventually became the University of West Georgia.
It is unknown if this signage was produced. It may have been a draft design proposed during a July 2019 meeting. This agenda can be found in the University of West Georgia Subject files, UA-0009-0004, under folder title "Bonner Plantation Cemetery, Along the Ridge Project."
The webpages were created in 2019. A selection of the links on those webpages, which connected to UWG news coverage of this topic, are no longer working. These pages were printed out in 2022. These copies can be found in the University of West Georgia Subject files, UA-0009-0004, under folder title "Bonner Plantation Cemetery, Along the Ridge Project."