The Carvings on Stone Mountain

Anyone walking up the trail to the top of Stone Mountain is familiar with the various carvings people have made over the years, some more than a century old. I decided to do some research on Ancestry to see what information I could dig up on some of the more interesting ones. All photos were taken by me between 2011 and 2013.

Annie Logan Anderson, Mrs. G.A. Goodyear, Joe A. Carter, 1878


It’s location is to the left of the handrails, about three-quarters of the way up the mountain, as one is ascending.

On the 1880 Census, Annie L. Anderson is listed in John P. Tuggle’s household in Stone Mountain, GA, identified as his niece. Publicly posted genealogies on Ancestry state she married Josiah A. Carter, and this has been confirmed with the census in 1900, and in his obituary from the Atlanta Constitution in 1914. I have not been able to locate a G. A. Goodyear on the 1880 census, or in connection to the Carters or Annie Anderson, though, I’d assume she’s somehow connected to one family or the other, since her name is carved with theirs. I suspect Joe Carter paid someone to do the carving, since the engraving shows a high degree of workmanship, and his line of work, newspaper reporter, didn’t lend itself to carving granite.

By the time this carving was done in 1878, Josiah Carter was already in the news business, working for DeKalb papers, a profession he took up at age eighteen, according to his obituary. His father, also named Josiah, was a physician in Oglethorpe County, GA in 1860, who served as a surgeon in the Civil War. Josiah A. Carter was later the city editor at the Atlanta Constitution under Henry Grady.

In 1887, Josiah Carter is listed as serving as chairman for a meeting of the Young Men’s Anti-prohibition Club, and in 1888, he’s listed as an upcoming speaker at the Atlanta Philosophic Society. He worked on the campaign of Georgia governor Hoke Smith and went with Smith when he was elected Senator from Georgia, serving as a clerk.

There’s an article in the Atlanta Constitution from January of 1889, entitled “Joe Carter Waylaid”, which identifies him as the victim of an assault downtown while he was headed home from work. The article lists, in detail, the route he took when walking from the paper to his home on Baker Street. The assault happened on Luckie Street and the assailants are described in the article as “footpads”. The article says they hit him over the head and made off with his watch and chain.

He was apparently well-respected in his profession. His name shows up numerous times in articles in the Constitution and other papers and in 1894, he’s listed as working in New York City. In 1909, he and another gentleman purchased the Marietta Courier and Marietta Journal and combined them into the Courier Journal, and news of this purchase was reported in The New York Times. He died in Washington, DC in September, 1914 after an operation to correct an unidentified abdominal problem and his obituary is printed in the Atlanta Constitution.

At the time of his death, he still owned the Marietta Courier Journal, where his son, Josiah Carter, Jr. was listed as the editor. In 1915, Josiah Carter, Jr. is identified as one of the witnesses on the scene following the lynching of Leo Frank in Marietta. The Atlanta Constitution reports that he received anonymous death threats after writing an editorial on Frank, which could not be located online.

Mrs. Annie L. Carter died 14 November 1931 in DeKalb County, GA according to the Georgia Deaths collection on Ancestry.

Charlie Bradfield, Dec. 27, 1913


This carving is about a third of the way up the walking trail to the right of those ascending the mountain, in a reasonably flat area which contains several other carvings.

There’s a Chas. Bradfield, age 11, listed on the 1900 census in the household of his father James in Stone Mountain, GA. His profession is listed as a “day laborer”. In 1910, closer to the date on this carving, he’s listed in the household of Sarah Bradfield, and his age is reported as 19. In 1910, he’s listed with no specific profession, but the field he’s working in is described as “odd jobs”. He apparently spent a lot of time on the mountain, as there’s another carving further up from this one with his name on it, that’s not as elaborate. There’s a Charles Bradfield listed on the census in 1920 in DeKalb with a wife, and a Charlie Bradfield on the census in 1930, but it’s not clear it’s the same person. A death is recorded in 1944 for a Charles Lee Bradfield, and in 1910, he’s listed as Charles T. Bradfield, so, again, it’s not clear it’s the same person.

The WOW in Charlie Bradfield’s carving apparently stands for Woodmen of the World, an insurance organization, which still exists.

W. G. Boatner, 1924


This is also in the area near the railings, which seems to have been a very popular area for carvings as there are many in the vicinity. This may have been one of the spots where people went for picnics as it affords a very nice view of the surrounding countryside. At the top of the incline where the railings are, scan to the left near the small wooded area where people stop to rest after the steep climb at the railings to find this carving.

William Glenn Boatner, born around 1893, appears on the 1930 and 1940 census, living in Marietta. His occupation in 1930 is stone cutter at a marble mill and in 1940, he’s listed as the superintendent at the marble mill. He may have been working in that capacity at the granite works at Stone Mountain in 1924. The carving suggests a high degree of skill as a stone cutter. In his household in 1930 is his wife, listed as Ilah and son, William G. He appears to have been a life-long resident of Cobb County, as he shows up there on the 1900 census, age 7, in the household of his father, William M. Boatner.

Curiously, in 1930, the family is listed as White but in 1940, they’re listed as Black. It’s not the first time I’ve found families listed as a different race from one census to the next, with no explanation for the discrepancy. Often the census taker interviewed neighbors rather than speaking to the family, or went by proximity to estimate facts about a family, so mistakes were frequent.

William Glenn Boatner, Sr. died in 1948 and is buried in Marietta. His son, William, died in 2000.

15 thoughts on “The Carvings on Stone Mountain

  1. My father and his two brothers carved their initials into the rock in the mid ’30s. He showed them to me when I was young, but I doubt I could find them today.

  2. there is a carving on the top of the mountain, near the edge of the decline toward the fences of CJ. It was interesting because my son is C.J. and he happened to stumble upon it, we photographed it, I will look around for it. This was about 10 years ago.
    Interesting article, I enjoyed it. Thank you.

    1. Thanks! There are little carvings all over the mountain, some are very faded with time. I’m not sure if I’ve seen that one, but I’ll see. I’ve made photos of the carvings for a couple of years, but most of these come from 2012-2013. Sometimes the light has to be just right to get a good image, given how some have eroded.

  3. There are not a lot of Goodyears. Akron Ohio is where a lot of them are from. I once married a Goodyear. I was surprised to see this name there.

    1. I looked for the name on the census but couldn’t find anyone with those initials and last name in Georgia, or connected to either family, though, I suppose this could be a relative who visited from elsewhere.

  4. I am not sure why there is a discrepancy in the Boatner family census, as I haven’t looked at the census records for that part of the family. However, I am the great-grand-daughter of William Glenn Boatner, and the grand-daughter of William Glenn “Jack” Boatner, and I can tell you that the family is white.

    1. I suspected as much. It’s not the first time I’ve found glaring inconsistencies in the census, usually involving ages or genders of children. In a lot of cases, the census taker didn’t actually interact with the family, just asked neighbors who was living in which house. In any event, all other records I’ve seen on the family leave no doubt as to their racial makeup. Thanks for the reply! I’m acquainted with others who are related to people whose names are carved on the mountain.

  5. I stumbled upon your website while researching the Lupo’s of Virginia. I am the 9th great granddaughter of John Chandler of Jamestowne who married Elizabeth Lupo after Albiano died in 1626. I was born in Doraville, Georgia, so your articles on Stone Mountain caught my eye. I’ve always loved walking up the mountain. Well, except when I was little— it scared me! I did find a George A Goodyear in the 1870 and 1910 censuses. He was born in 1854 in Bibb County, Georgia. He was married to Sarah J Brown in 1876. I don’t know of any connection, but she would have been the ‘right’ age to hike Stone Mountain in 1878!
    I’ve enjoyed reading the Lupo story and the information about the Stone Mountain carvings. Thanks!

    1. I’ve been living near Doraville since 2001 and recently sold my condo there. I’m moving into an apartment in Doraville in a few weeks.

  6. Hey, I found your site while investigating if anybody else was as fascinated by the stone mountain timestamp carvings as I am. I find them so much more interesting than the big carving of the confederate generals. Great post, thanks for documenting!

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