Cemetery tours set to begin

COVINGTON -- Spirits that lived long ago will come alive again this month during tours of historic cemeteries in Covington and Social Circle, both designed to be more educational and fun than spooky.

The second annual Voices from the Past Cemetery Tour will take place beginning at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at Covington City Cemetery on Davis Street. Sponsored by the Newton County Historical Society with assistance from the Tourism Division of the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce, the tour will highlight the life stories of eight former residents, said Sheryl Christian, one of the event's coordinators.

"There will be everybody from a former sheriff to a Revolutionary War soldier," Christian said. "What we hope people will get out of this is they will learn something about Newton County history as well as life in the old days, because some of the things they will talk about may be ordinary life, but it's different from the life we live today."

Tour groups will leave every 15 minutes beginning at 5:30 p.m. and ending at 8 p.m. Attendees should arrive 15 minutes before their scheduled tour time and are encouraged to bring a flashlight. Golf carts are available for those unable to walk the route.

Tickets must be purchased in advance from the Covington Visitor's Center, located at 2101 Clark St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

The 45-minute tour will also include information about the historic black and Civil War sections of the cemetery and the meaning of symbols found on tombstones.

Proceeds will benefit the proposed Newton County History Center. Parking is available at the First United Methodist Church of Covington at 1113 Conyers St. For more information or to purchase tickets, call the Visitor's Center at 770-786-7510.

There will be another opportunity to revisit the past during Social Circle's Tour of the Cemetery on Oct. 29 and 30. The tour will take place at Social Circle Cemetery off Ga. Highway 11.

Paul Best, creator of the event, will portray Major Best, the spirit of a Union soldier who traveled to Georgia to find the spirit of his brother, a Confederate soldier. Major Best will guide the tour and along the way will encounter various other spirits who will share their stories, including an author of children's stories and an artist.

"It's a fun tour. It's not a scary tour. Some is historical and some is more fun than historical," Best said.

Half-hour tours begin at 7:30 p.m. and will run until about 10 p.m. or as long as people show up, Best said. Tickets are available at the site the night of the tour for $2 per person.

The event is sponsored by the Social Circle Better Hometown program. For more information, call 770-464-1866.