Wood, the wife of Smyrna City Councilman Pete Wood, and the Bennett Woods Garden Club, of which she is a member, will host a clean-up day for Daniell Cemetery from 9 a.m. to noon on May 7. The garden club members are inviting all of their neighbors to pitch in and help them revive the cemetery in the middle of the Bennett Woods subdivision, which is situated between Concord and North Cooper Lake Roads in Smyrna. Bring your own tools!
The cemetery is named for Robert Daniell, an ancestor of lifelong Cobb resident and banker Joe Daniell, and it needs quite a bit of work, Wood said. A rusty, chain-link fence needs to be painted, for one thing. Many of the graves in the cemetery are so old that none of the ancestors are around to take care of them.
"We're hoping to really clean it up, and I envision a bench or two up there," said Wood, who lives down the street from one of the entrances to the cemetery. "We're going to try to make it into, as one garden clubber said, 'a little botanical garden.' It's just gotten abandoned more or less, and it's right in the middle of our neighborhood. We felt like a great way to keep it up is neighborhood activism."
While he doesn't know exactly how old the cemetery is, Daniell believed that his great uncle Robert Daniell, who died in 1881, is one of the first people to be buried there. Robert Daniell apparently gave some of the 600 acres of land he owned for the cemetery some time after the Civil War, Daniell guessed. Interestingly, Robert Daniell is the father of J.J. Daniell, the namesake of J.J. Daniell Middle School in northeast Cobb.
Daniell said he is happy the garden club wants to take care of place with such rich community history.
"This has been sort of a little pride for the community over there," Daniell said. "It's nice to take care of some of the history."
The garden club, which has about 90 members from the Bennett Woods neighborhood, helps keep up the neighborhood's signs and does other community projects such as gardening at King Springs Elementary School. Wood hopes that the club's efforts at Daniell Cemetery will encourage neighbors to adopt a part of the cemetery and continue to keep it up.
"This is one of those places where we can make the neighborhood better by keeping it up," she said.