Berry College is no stranger to graveyards, and its unusual familiarity with the dead is one thing that sets Berry off from other colleges. There are four cemeteries and more than four hundred people buried on Berry College's 26,000-acre campus. It is no wonder that there are so many ghost stories associated with Berry. With the remains of so many people buried beneath their feet, members of the Berry community may ponder the lives (and afterlives) of those who have been laid to rest.

The north side of the cemetery

Mount Berry Cemetery

Mount Berry Cemetery is a small cemetery containing forty-two marked grave sites including that of Martha Berry. The cemetery is located on the north side of Berry College Chapel (Martha Berry being the exception, as she is laid to rest on the south side of the chapel). The first person to be buried here, in 1945, was Ms. Frances Olmstead Keown, who used to teach in the girls' school. In 1951, after living to be 107 years old, "Aunt Martha" Freeman, Miss Berry's devoted Oak Hill housekeeper, nanny, helper, and friend, was also buried in the cemetery.

In February 1957, the Board of Trustees established an official policy to govern the cemetery: burial was limited to those who have served on the staff of the schools for twenty-five years or more, with ten of those years having been served during Miss Berry’s lifetime. The cemetery is maintained through a fund established by a sister of Miss Berry, Mrs. J. Bulow Campbell, for whom the Campbell School of Business at Berry is named (Martha Berry’s Gravesite and Mount Berry Cemetery Info).

Martha Berry's grave

Below are the burial plots in the Mount Berry Cemetery as verified by grave-markers in Sept. 2009:
(Burial Plots Located Near Mount Berry Chapel)
South Side:

Years of Employment

Birth and Death Dates

Martha Berry


October 7, 1865 - February 27, 1942
North Side:

Mary Alice Barnes


December 26, 1897 - December 8, 1984
Iva Lee Hamilton Cannon

February 3, 1912 - April 7, 1973
L. Geddins Cannon


April 11, 1908 - July 30, 1997

Dr. Samuel Henry Cook

February 9, 1887 - August 7, 1975
Mamie McGinnis Dodd

March 5, 1908 - July 18, 1995

William Vestus Dodd

April 10, 1905 - January 10, 1984
Bertha Hackett Ewing

February 8, 1895 - December 20, 1967
Moses Courtwright Ewing

March 21, 1888 - January 24, 1958
Elise Andrews Ford

1920- 1944

November 27, 1893 - April 4, 1981
Fred F. Ford


September 26, 1897 - September 9, 1965
Gardener Leland Green

April 22, 1883 - March 6, 1971
Flora Humphrey Green

December 10, 1887 - June 28, 1974
Ethel Edwards Hamrick

August 20, 1892 - June 18, 1983
Henry Grady Hamrick, Sr.

September 30, 1889 - December 10, 1975
Inez Wooten Henry


December 17, 1905 - October 28, 1979
William Thomas Henry

August 14, 1899 - December 24, 1956
Clifford Woodfin Hill

October 5, 1891 - February 14, 1960
Yetive Beard Hill


April 27, 1906 - January 29, 1987
Caroline Bostick Hoge

March 18, 1892 - October 12, 1976
Edward Herman Hoge

March 12, 1883 - May 28, 1960
Mabel Loyd Johnson

January 22, 1892 - January 13, 1961
Walter A. Johnson, Sr.

March 5, 1892 - September 7, 1983
Hubert E. Jones, Sr.


February 2, 1910 - June 27, 1980
Virginia S. Jones


October 10, 1908 - December 24, 2005
Clyde Bernard Keim


March 6, 1883 - March 11 , 1962
Sally Griffin Keim


May 22, 1893 - December 21, 1961
Frances Olmsted Keown

May 26, 1877 - April 24, 1945

Marcus Gordon Keown

October 20 ,1882 - January 22, 1956
Beatrice Ray Moon


September 10, 1894 - November 26, 1979
Fair Caldwell Moon


April 8, 1894 - February 17, 1963
Elizabeth Smith Mooney

June 5, 1903 - October 4, 1983
Walter McKinley Mooney

November 5, 1902 - July 15, 1968
Elena Stephens Moore

March 19, 1907 - April 19, 2003
Winifred F. "Chief" Moore

May 20, 1907 - February 22, 1986
Nora Cumby Pirkle


August 7, 1903 - March 19, 1998
Willis Nathaniel Pirkle

May 11, 1903 - July 13, 1986

Clifton Flowe Russell

December 11, 1893 - May 6, 1969
Lillian Hulsey Russell

August 24, 1900 - July 13, 1967
Daniel C. Sullivan


December 22, 1903 - March 7, 1997
Willie Sue Sullivan


July 31, 1903 - June 26, 1995

"Aunt Martha" Freeman

February 11, 1844 - May 19, 1951

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Cemetery at Possum Trot

Possum Trot Cemetery

Behind Possum Trot Chapel lies a visibly small cemetery with about twenty or so discernible graves. In 1989, one hundred fifty-three bodies (believed by some historians to be the bodies of Civil War soldiers) were relocated to the Possum Trot Cemetery from where they were previously buried off US 27 North, on the land where the Mount Berry Square Mall stands today. Crown American Corp., after purchasing the land from Berry College, discovered the graves and had the bodies relocated to Possum Trot (Berry Continues Tradition at Possum Trot Church). Since most of the graves are marked with rocks, large stones, or nothing at all, it is nearly impossible to tell from a visit to the cemetery that well over a hundred fifty people are buried here.

Freemantown Cemetery

Located behind what is now a horse barn on Berry's mountain campus, Freemantown Cemetery is the community graveyard and final resting place of the forgotten community of Freemantown. A small, self-sufficient black community of freed slaves that existed between the early 1880's and 1926, Freemantown was situated on five-hundred fifty acres in the middle of what is now Berry College. Freemantown was established by William Thomas Freeman, a slave who received his freedom at the close of the Civil War. Freeman, two of his siblings, Martha Pearl Freeman ("Aunt Martha") and Sanford P. Freeman and William's children: Essex, Josephine, Nick, Lindsey, William Jr., Mingo, Fanny, Henrietta, Emma, Bulah, Clinton, Ford, Thomas, and Fredonia (Riles). These fourteen children formed the base of Freemantown, though there were several other families that helped to make up this small community: the Maddoxes, the Hendricks, the Rogers, the Montgomerys, the Sanfords, and the Joneses (Riles). Though this impressively independent community sustained itself for four decades, by the early 1920's it had diminished significantly. In an interview conducted by Johnny W. Riles III for a research project on the cemetery in 1979, Mrs. Beatrice Freeman Battey (granddaughter of William Freeman) stated, “All the young people, or most, I should say, of Freemantown left to go to the North or elsewhere, so only the elderly remained. The community died of its own weight and everyone (we) decided it was best to sell.” Freemantown officially met its end on August 29, 1926 when Martha Berry purchased the land for the Berry Schools. In Johnny Riles' The Origin of Freemantown Cemetery, the fate of the community is addressed: "As they sold their land, they took only their possessions, their memories of the lives they lived at Freemantown, and the hope that their new life started elsewhere now would be better. As the last inhabitants left a few days after they sold their land, they looked back – and
all that was left was a cemetery . . . ”
All that remains of Freemantown Cemetery

The cemetery was originally the private cemetery for members of the
the Freeman family. Sanford P. Freeman, brother of William Freeman, was the first to be buried, and it was around his grave plot that others came to be buried. As the Freemantown population expanded and families intermarried, the cemetery became the burial place for the whole community. The last person to be buried in the cemetery before the land was sold to the Berry Schools was Mingo Freeman. There is some controversy about whether or not Martha Berry promised Suzie Freeman, whom she purchased the land from, that the members of Freemantown could still bury their relatives in the cemetery if they wished. However, there is no record of anyone else being buried there since the land was sold to Berry College. While there remains no complete record of the number of people buried in Freemantown Cemetery, it is believed that the cemetery contains nearly all of the inhabitants of Freemantown. However, due to exposure to the elements and the passage of time, many of the headstones are either illegible or covered beneath the ground. The six or seven grave-markers that remain are those of the most distinguished members of the community.

Feeble efforts to restore the Freemantown Cemetery into shape as a historical site have been ongoing since at least 1976 when Johnny W. Riley III attempted to get enough support to create an intern position for someone to do work on the cemetery. No such task has been undertaken, however, and to this day the cemetery remains sadly lacking in upkeep and preservation. If one cares enough to make the drive up Stretch Road, walk to the horse barn, through the pasture, and venture a few feet in the woods, one will find little more than a few weather-beaten stones among the trees and a single prominent headstone to mark what was once a hopeful society of people who used their cherished freedom to carve out their own little niche in the world. As the people who once made up the community of Freemantown slowly died off, so, it seems, has the knowledge of the cemetery and those laid to rest there.

2012-09-05 19.45.44.jpg
The back side of Mountain Springs Cemetery

Mountain Springs Cemetery

Also located on Berry's campus is Mountain Springs Cemetery. This large cemetery and the Mountain Springs Methodist Church are located deep in the woods behind Frost Chapel on the grounds of what used to be a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corps ("Changes of Personnel Recorded). Well over two hundred people are buried here, with the graves dating from the early 1800's up to April, 2012. The supposedly haunted CCC Road is allegedly named after the Corps, but is controlled by Berry College even though the church and cemetery are not actually owned by the college. This cemetery remains mysterious and intriguing, and its obscure location keeps most in the Berry community from knowing that it exists.

Works Cited

"Berry Continues Tradition at Possum Trot Church." Rome News Tribute. September 15, 1989, 3-A. Print.

"Burial Plots Located Near Mount Berry Chapel." 2009. Excel file. Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

"Changes of Personnel Recorded." Camp Berry Breeze. November 1935, 1. Print.

Martha Berry’s Gravesite and Mount Berry Cemetery Info, Berry College Archives.

Riles, Johnny W. "The Origin of Freemantown Cemetery." 1976. Print.