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Life before Fort Stewart revisted

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POSTED: April 27, 2011 11:29 a.m.
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Attendees of last week’s Fort Stewart cemetery tour examine a headstone in Gaulden Cemetery. The tour included visits to several historic cemeteries on the installation that have been preserved. (Jen Alexander McCall)

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When wartime came to 1940s Georgia, rural life was turned on its ear for the residents of Taylors Creek and other small communities scattered throughout nearly 300,000 acres.

The Department of Defense needed its land for a strategic military post, and they could do nothing more than take what little money was offered and move out to make a new life somewhere else.

Today, Fort Stewart shows its appreciation for the tremendous sacrifice of these citizens by preserving their cemeteries, which are scattered throughout the installation, and welcoming their descendants on tours to relive history and remember loved ones.

About 50 people, including many descendants, joined Fort Stewart Public Affairs Officer Pat Young on a tour April 20, tolerating the heat and bumpy ride through wooded training areas to view gravestones and remark on the life they and their parents, grandparents and others once lived.

“In 1941, the government purchased all the properties. The families didn’t really have much choice in the matter, and many had to pack up within a day or two. There was even a case of an individual being carried out,” Young said.

In most cases, if not all, the land was purchased for less than its value. Young said the entire Pleasant Grove community, for example, was bought for about $2,000. After World War II many families thought they would get their land back, but the onset of the Cold War and the Cuban Missile Crisis banished those hopes.

For more, pick up a copy of the April 27 edition of the News.

 

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