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Moore County Historical and Genealogical Society to meet June 12

Posted on Tuesday, June 7, 2016 at 10:00 am

LYNCHBURG, Tenn. — The next meeting of the Moore County Historical and Genealogical Society will be held Sunday, June 12 at 2 p.m. at the Masonic Hall in Lynchburg. The program will be about cemeteries, documentation and location. The speaker will be Dr. Gerald Smith of Sewanee, who teaches at the University of the South.

Since 1998, Smith has been doing primary field research on the cemeteries of Middle Tennessee, visiting dozens of cemeteries each year. In 1999 he and student Lonsdale Green, of Columbia, co-authored a paper presented in London on the “Stone Burial Monuments of Middle Tennessee.”

Smith has been particularly interested in discovering and describing Tennessee’s long-abandoned (and overgrown) cemeteries. He trains his students in basic field techniques such as mapping, use of GPS devices, digital photography, stone recognition and tree identification to understand the way cemeteries mature and then decay over a century or more.

His program on “Sacred Suburbs” has been given or requested by a number of Tennessee towns. Smith has also lectured on cemeteries for the Friends of the Library of the University of the South, for the Sewanee Summer Seminar and for the Franklin County Historical Society.

He has developed a middle-school lesson plan for an interdisciplinary approach for teams of teachers to use in teaching school children about local cemeteries. He has used his cemetery skills in advising local authorities in managing cemeteries on public lands or in proposed highway right-of-way corridors.

Smith studied religion and philosophy of science at Duke University where he received his Doctorial Degree. Smith is currently at work as co-editor of three books on the history of the University of the South and was recently elected president of the Franklin County Historical Society. He has taught at the University of the South for more than 45 years.

The meeting is open to the public and guests are welcome. For further information, contact Betty Robertson at (931) 759-7763 or email at <> or contact George Stone at <> or by phone at (931) 581-2621.