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Graves of Sarah Heredon, William Gilbert, and Joshua Gilber
Courtesy of Georgia State Historic Preservation Office

Utoy Cemetery is a fenced 4 acre suburban cemetery located in Southwest Atlanta on Cahaba Drive SW, behind the old Utoy Primitive Baptist Church (now the Temple of Christ Pentecostal Church). 

This location is about 6 miles from the State Capitol in Atlanta, and the Utoy Church has been used for burials from circa 1828. The cemetery contains inscribed tombstones from 1816 to 2010 and is associated with the earliest period of European American settlement (1810s-1870) in what is now Fulton County, Georgia. Utoy Cemetery is one of the oldest of the few identifiable properties to survive from that period.

A number of African American slaves, who were also Utoy Church members, along with their descendants are believed to be buried in the western portion of the cemetery.  It is known that at least one Revolutionary War veteran is buried in Utoy Cemetery.  Moreover, there are known Confederate, War of 1812, Spanish-American War, and Vietnam conflict veterans, plus Atlanta’s first physician buried at Utoy Cemetery.

In 1864, the Utoy church served as a military field hospital for captured Union and wounded Confederate soldiers. There are 23 unknown Confederate soldiers, from Gen. S.D. Lee's Corps of Bate's Division, buried at the Utoy Cemetery. These were among the 35 Confederate casualties of the Battle of Utoy Creek, who died from wounds treated at the Utoy Church field hospital.  One additional known casualty of this conflict and eleven known other Confederate veterans are also buried at Utoy. Additionally, a portion of the Rebel defensive line still exists, only a few feet north of the Confederate graves.

On August 1, Union General William T. Sherman sent General John Schofield and his Army of the Ohio to Utoy Creek, one mile northwest of Utoy Cemetery, in an attempt to break Confederate defenses protecting the railroad lines at East Point, upon which the Confederates depended for supplies. While the Union forces reached Utoy Creek on August 2, they did not cross until August 4. The ensuing conflict, which pitted approximately 30,000 Union troops against approximately 8,000 Confederates, would constitute a major victory for the Confederates and a significant loss to the Union Army. Total Union losses, including those killed and wounded, were almost two thousand troops, while Confederate losses included 35 killed and two hundred wounded or captured.

Union casualties were interred here until 1866, when they were moved by the US Quartermaster's Office at Atlanta, to the National Cemetery in Marietta, Georgia. (In the Civil War Era National Cemeteries Travel Itinerary.)

Revolutionary War Veteran William Suttles Dedication Ceremony
Courtesy of Utoy Cemetery Association

Utoy Primitive Baptist Church, the oldest Baptist Church in present Fulton County, was constituted August 15, 1824, in a log house just west of the present church. The church was moved to its present location in the summer of 1828.

The Georgia Historical Commission has placed a marker at the entrance to the Utoy Cemetery signifying the importance of the Utoy Church and cemetery:
During the 1864 Battle of Utoy Creek, the Confederates established a field hospital for this area at the Utoy Primitive Baptist Church.  The primary surgeon was Dr. Joshua Gilbert, Atlanta’s first physician, who was assisted by Miss Sarah Hendon as a nurse.  Both Dr. Gilbert and Miss Hendon treated both Confederate and captured Union soldiers and are buried in the Utoy Cemetery with DAR and UDC memorial recognition.

Utoy Cemetery is located at 1465 Cahaba Drive, SW, near the intersection of Venetian Dr. and Cahaba Dr. The main entrance is located on Cahaba Dr. The cemetery is open 9:00am to 5:00pm daily. Guided tours are available March-October, by appointment, only; there is a fee. Guide books are also available for self-guided tours. For further information please call 770-925-4299. You can visit their website:  http://www.utoycemeteryinc.org/.

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