The area of Smyrna now occupied by Nissan was once inhabited by families with names like Ward, Miller and Patterson (to name a few). There are 4 recorded Ward Cemeteries in that area. I’ve heard for years that one of those Ward Cemeteries was still located on the grounds of the Nissan plant. With that in mind, I began calling everyone I know who works at Nissan, retired from Nissan or once drove by Nissan on their way to the lake. No one had any definite info as to where A.J. Ward (1849-1892) and J.J. Ward (1817-1886) were located in the present configuration of Smyrna.
If the cemetery were still located on Nissan property, that might be problematic for any descendants who might come for a visit. It would not be terribly easy to locate and/or access. Referring to the wonderful cemetery books done in 1975 by the SAR and the Historical Society an approximate location was identified and the search began in earnest. The books referenced JS Young Rd and the Jim Miller farm and a brick house and 2 small cedar trees….landmarks are always helpful. The first problem is JS Young Rd evidently no longer exists. (I don’t know if the name was changed or if they decided to make it into a field and threw out some grass seed to cover the asphalt or what occurred. If you know who JS Young is/was and what happened to his road, please send me an e-mail). The next stop was the tax records and VOILA! I found a cemetery in that approximate area. It was listed as the Davis & Watson Cemetery and, well, there is not a Davis & Watson Cemetery listed anywhere else besides the tax records. To add to the hope that this was actually the Ward Cemetery, this small section of land was located on R Sam Griffin Rd and that was close to the Miller Estates Subdivision (former Jim Miller farm), so I thought I’d take a look and see if there were any stones to be found. Driving out Lowry Street towards the southern edges of Smyrna I found R Sam Griffin Rd, only the street sign said Sam G Griffin Dr. Figuring these were actually the same Sam, I turned and found the property that was listed in the tax records. A lot has changed in the last 30 or so years….there were lots of cedar trees and undergrowth and no visible headstones.
After all of this, I am fairly certain that this is the location of the missing Ward Cemetery. It is adjacent to Nissan property and meets all the criteria though there are lots of different names associated with this small plot of land. A call to the county historian is the next step in this saga. Hopefully that will either confirm the identity as the Ward Cemetery or begin a new search for the names of the occupants of the Davis & Watson Cemetery. Stay tuned!