Thanks to the Friends of the Cemetery, the new decorative wrought iron fence shownabove has been constructed along the southern boundary of the cemetery. It runs from the southgate to the western edge of the cemetery and replaces the old chain-link fence that had stood formany years and was showing its age. Its construction was completed under the direction andsupervision of cemetery association board member Bob McDonald. Our next Friends project will be to replace the remaining section of chain link fence thatruns from the south gate to the eastern boundary of the cemetery. This section is considerablylonger than the section just replaced and will cost approximately $15,000 to complete.

Two benefactors have agreed to contribute one half of the cost of this project if the Friends of theCemetery will raise the other one half. This is a wonderful opportunity to finish the wroughtiron fence, an opportunity that may not present itself again! So please consider contributing asmuch as possible to the Friends this year. Thank you. 


As many of you have noticed, the beautiful black gum tree at the entrance to thecemetery is in serious decline. Generations of Athenians have admired this magnificent tree each fall as its leaves turned to crimson. No doubt that over the years it has been the mostphotographed object in Henderson County. But despite the best efforts of tree experts fromaround the state and the continuing efforts of the cemetery association, disease, old age andnumerous lightning strikes have taken their toll. Sadly, it now appears doubtful that thismagnificent tree can be kept alive very much longer. 

Plans are already under way to plant several replacement black gum trees at the entranceto the cemetery. If you would like to help with this project and at the same time honor a loved one, simply make a donation of at least $250 to the Friends of the Cemetery and indicate thename of the loved one you would like to honor. A plaque bearing your loved one's name (or your name if you wish) will be placed at the base of the tree purchased with your donation.THE CELTIC CROSS One of the earlier Friends projects was the construction of the Celtic Cross in the new section of the cemetery. A number of persons have asked the significance of this cross and have asked about its history.

Following is a brief explanation. 

The cross with a circle has been popularly known as a "Celtic Cross" since around 1850. The form itself evolved  between the 4th and 9th centuries. Also known as "The Irish Cross" or "The Irish High Cross" this type of cross is now associated with Celtic heritage. Use of the  phrase "Celtic Cross" is an acknowledgement that the form is not only Irish, but was and is shared by Scotland, Wales, and other regions that were influenced by early Celtic Christianity. 

By the 1890s Celtic Crosses began to appear in cemeteries and churches around the world, wherever there was a Scottish or Irish population with pride in their origins. 
In Ireland the majority of Celtic Crosses are created for Catholic patrons, but the Protestant Church of Ireland uses the Celtic Cross as well. Many other Protestants of Celtic heritage, especiallythose outside Ireland, also make use of the Celtic Cross. 

Recognizing that many of the early settlers of Athens were of Scottish, Irish or Scottish descent association felt that the use of the Celtic Cross would be appropriate as a focal point in the new section.