Eleven years after Grace Episcopal Church was built in Clarkesville, Georgia, the Chapel of the Holy Cross was constructed just four miles away on New Liberty Road. Completed October 13, 1853, the chapel of ease housed monthly services for members of Grace Church who were unable to make the long journey into the village of Clarkesville. A small cemetery was established adjacent to the chapel for church burials.
The one and one-half acre property at the time was owned by the Kollock family who dedicated its use to Grace Church. The Rev. William Eston Eppes, a member of the Kollock family, was minister of Grace Church from 1862-1895. Rev. Eppes’ home, Sunnyside, still stands just to the south of the church/cemetery grounds. The Rev. Eppes is buried in the Chapel of the Holy Cross cemetery.
After the Civil War, the fortunes of Grace Church declined but the chapel on New Liberty Road remained open. An organ was installed in 1886, a baptismal font was placed in 1887, and in 1889 a fair was held to help raise funds for improvements to the building and grounds. This momentum was short lived. As church members grew older and died, aggravated by a worsening economy, the chapel was forced to close its doors and it fell vacant. After years of disuse, the chapel building was torn down. The church benches and hymnals were donated to a struggling church on the Tallulah Highway.
In the 1960s, the Kollock family gave the property and the baptismal font to Grace-Calvary Church. In 1992, handsome stone gates and an iron fence and accompanying stone walls were installed at the cemetery entrance. A Memorial Garden was established and grave sites were made available to Grace-Calvary Church members and their immediate families. Parishioners gather at the cemetery to honor the departed on All Saints Day each year.
As a memorial to the late John Kollock, different sections will be named after the local historic homes of some of the early communicants of Grace-Calvary Church. The historic section of the cemetery will be Woodlands. The new section of the cemetery on the south side is to be named Sunnyside. Future additions will be Sleepy Hollow, Lamont and Blythewood. It is suggested small monuments will be erected at the entrance to each of these sections.
Gravesites at the Chapel of the Holy Cross Cemetery are available to members in good standing of Grace-Calvary Episcopal Church, their parents and their children or at the Rector’s discretion. The cemetery is administered by a committee comprised of lay members of the parish, the vestry liaison to the committee and the rector, who shall make provisions for the perpetual care of the cemetery.