Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Ridley Cemetery, Crandall, Murray County, Ga

 The story of me finding the Ridley family cemetery has a life of its own, so to speak. One morning I drove to Murray County, Georgia, with the purpose of finding the Ridley Cemetery. I had no idea where to find it. I thought it might be in the Crandall Community, since that is where the Pettys and Ridley lived.

I drove up Hwy 225. When in Murray County, I stopped at a little local hamburger lunch place to eat lunch. There was no dining room inside. There was a window to order and get your food. I got something and was back in my car eating when I noticed a Georgia D.O.T. truck parked near with a man inside it, also eating. I thought he might give me an idea where the cemetery was. I walked up to his window and pardoned myself for interrupting his lunch and told him I was looking for the Ridley Family Cemetery, did he have any idea…. He looked at me started with a hunk of food pushing a cheek outward. Was he choking? After he chewed and swallow he said, “You want believe this but look what my finger is on.” He held up a topical map and his finger was on “Ridley Cemetery” This, I believe was a divinely inspired lead.
It was, as I guessed, in the Crandall Community on Jim Petty Road. Jim Petty is my great uncle. I went by his directions and saw the cemetery on the side of the road on the other side of a guard rail, which was the beginning of a little bridge over a little creek, just like the map said.
I parked on the side of the road and went into the little cemetery.
There I saw the graves of my distant cousins, uncles, and ancestors. I took notes and taking pictures. My peripheral vison caught some kind of movement. I looked up and creeping towards was an elderly man with a shotgun aimed at me.
He said, “Can I help you?”
“My grandmother told me about this cemetery and I wanted to see it.
“Whose your grandmother?”
“Frances Viola Ridley Petty.”
“You Ola’s boy?”
“No, she is my grandmother, I’m her daughter’s son.”
Most importantly (to me) he lowered his shotgun.
“How is Viola?”
“she died about ten years ago.”
“Sorry to hear that”
He told me to come back anytime.
“Anytime” was about 15 to 20 years later. This time I wanted to show my sons the Ridley Cemetery. While we were looking at the old markers several young people, in their early 20s, were hanging out in front of the house where the old man lived. They got on dirt bike, 4 or 5 of them, and rode near us at the cemetery, and jumping the ditch on the road, u-turning and coming back near us again, each time getting closer and closer. I felt uncomfortable. Afterall, we were the trespassers. We left.

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