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Cemetery relocation application withdrawn

Posted: April 20, 2017 1:06 p.m.

COVINGTON, Ga. - Philip A. Johnson, an attorney representing Guardian Angel Assisted Living and Memory Care, LLC, withdrew the assisted living facility’s application to relocate a cemetery within the City of Covington April 6.

This notice came three days after the Covington City Council denied the application during its regular meeting April 3. According to City Attorney Frank Turner, the city had 30 days to provide a written reason for its denial, but since the application has been withdrawn, the city no longer has to issue the written reasons.

The application was initially filed by Robert S. (Steve) Webb on March 3. Webb, president and senior principal archeologist for R.S. Webb & Associates, said he believes the cemetery contains the remains of slaves.

The city approved its first cemetery relocation in December of last year. The approval was based on the assumption of about a dozen graves being in the Industrial Park Boulevard location. However, once the relocation was approved and started, a total of 75 graves were found and therefore relocated.

Webb, whose company worked the first relocation, said situations like that are extremely rare. He estimates at least 14 graves in the current cemetery.

Rohim Patel, of Guardian Angel Assisted Living and Memory Care, told The Covington News April 3 he planned on reapplying for the cemetery relocation. The development is at a complete standstill until it is approved, he said. 

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Watchdog: April 22, 2017 3:52 a.m.

First off there are plenty of professionals deal with these situations other than Steve Webb. After hearing from a neighbor at the Bear Creek Location that Webb and his associates were seen carrying off Native American artifacts during a search on property owned by the County and was part of the inundation area for the now defunct Bear Creek Reservoir. I am familiar with one site that may have been desecrated but have not gotten permission to go see. Allegedly, Webb, hired by TOMMY CRAIG was supposed to locate and report such sites. I called some of his contemplates with the Georgia association and got a very shocking report of Webb's former activities. What we would like to know is what Webb did with the artifacts he and his employees hauled out of the site. The Black Market for these artifacts offers significant 'profits' for owners of these artifacts. With today's equipment locating grave sites is not rocket science. Maybe if you said there were only a few graves and quoted a price accordingly, then when reality sets in the price increases many times over. So was his mistake on the cemetery he moved incompetence or something else?

duke4172: April 21, 2017 3:24 p.m.

I have a problem with people knowingly buying property that has a cemetery on it and then desecrating the cemetery by moving it! The Johnson family cemetery that was at the intersection of GA 142 and Alcovy Rd sat for years undisturbed until a greedy developer bought the property and demanded the cemetery moved! At first it was only 10 graves but it turned out that there were many more because 75 bodies were found and relocated to land adjacent to the Cook family cemetery on Flat Rock Rd, This in itself presents a problem because descendants are not allowed on the property to clean the cemetery and it is badly over grown and grave markers have been knocked over and damaged! There is no access to reach the cemetery unless you go on private property! The cemetery that was moved contained the family of Silas Mercer Johnson, Silas had a daughter named Mary that married my Great Great Grandmother’s brother James Ellington so as an indirect descendent I wrote a letter to Mr. Williams and to the County Commission and never heard a peep but in my opinion the cemetery should have been left as is because Silas Mercer Jonson was awarded the property in a land lottery by the federal government for fighting in the war of 1812 so it should have been awarded imminent domain and left as is! I feel that they already had their mind made up and they did not care what anyone had to say against moving the Johnson Cemetery!

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