This weekend, a local cemetery will attract the living. Descendents of those buried in the Wrightsboro Cemetery, along with local history buffs, will gather at the Wrightsboro Church to celebrate the annual homecoming.
Some of the graves in the historic Quaker cemetery are more than 200 years old, and their descendants may have left the area. But many return, year after year, to make that all-important connection to the past, said Wrightsboro Foundation member Hazel Mobley.
"(It is important) to maintain the rich heritage that is there and to keep people aware of the history of McDuffie County and the Quaker community," said Billie Thomas, another Wrightsboro Foundation member. ...As younger generations come along, it would soon be lost if we didn't do this."
Regular church services were discontinued at the church in 1963. Now, the church - which is still maintained - is only in use for homecoming in May and a Christmas service each year.
This year's homecoming will feature a local speaker whose family has a deep connection to historic McDuffie County. Tad Brown, president of the Thomson-based Watson-Brown Foundation - which provides scholarships and grants across the southeast - will be the keynote speaker.
"I'm interested in history. I was honored to be asked to speak," Mr. Brown said. "The history of Wrightsboro is a fascinating look at McDuffie County. Immediately prior to the American Revolution, its transformation, its migration and its demise are interesting and important facets of southern history and American history."
Mr. Brown said he plans on including in his speech some of his family history in connection to Wrightsboro and McDuffie County. He also added that he spent time as a child on the grounds of the church and cemetery during previous homecoming celebrations.
"You've got that whole element of personal intrigue and curiosity and reverence that's there," he said. "So I'll certainly, at some point, stitch that in there."
The homecoming services - which include "old favorite hymns" - will begin at 11 a.m. on May 6. After the service, participants are invited to enjoy a picnic dinner on the grounds. The public is invited to attend.