In a previous posting, I researched some of the people who appear in the individual carvings along the walk-up trail at Stone Mountain, some more than a hundred years old. I’ve researched a few more and manged to dig up some info on them.
G.A. GOLDSMITH, C.T. WELLS, J.O. WELLS, 1884
This carving can be found in the cluster of carvings that appear near the railings as one is ascending or descending the mountain, which must have been a popular gathering spot for people climbing the mountain. It’s relatively flat in spots, and affords a very nice view of the surrounding countryside, second only to the top of the mountain. History records that there used to be a rather impressive natural rock formation near the top called “The Devil’s Compass,” which was apparently blasted and hauled down the mountain for use as paving stones before the turn of the twentieth century. I’ve searched, but so far haven’t uncovered any photos of it.
G. A. Goldsmith
Find a Grave has a listing for Gustavus A. Goldsmith buried in Stone Mountain Cemetery; birth date 1862; death date 1921. This would have made him around twenty-two in 1884. A check of the census at Ancestry finds Gustavus, his age listed as 16, in the household of his mother, Temperance C. Goldsmith, in 1880, in Cross Keys, DeKalb County. His occupation is listed as “works on farm”.
In 1870, the family of Temperance Goldsmith, including Gustavus, is found in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County. Here, Gustavus’ age is listed as 7. A further search on Temperance finds her in the household of George W. T. Goldsmith, in 1860, living in Cassville, Cass County (now Bartow County), Georgia. Marriage records at Ancestry list that George W. T. Goldsmith married Temperance Loveless, 6 June 1844, in DeKalb County. In 1850, Temperance is listed as “Carolin” on the census. In 1910, Gustavus has a daughter named Caroline.
The 1910 census finds Gustavus, listed as “Gus” with a rather extensive family, living in Los Angeles, California, with his occupation listed as a “stone cutter”. By 1920, the family is back in Stone Mountain. His mother-in-law, Lydia Scruggs, is living with the family in 1910 and 1920. A search of Ancestry’s publicly posted genealogies finds a listing for Gustavus Adolphus Goldsmith, born 18 October 1862; died 3 November 1921; spouse Mary Eugenia Scruggs. In 1920, he’s listed as Adolphus on the census. U.S. City Directories have a listing from 1902 for Gustavus A. Goldsmith, spouse Mary, living in Stone Mountain, GA, and his occupation is Secretary and Treasurer for Patterson Granite & M Co. The “M” probably stands for monuments, likely meaning gravestones.
C. T. Wells & J. O. Wells
A check of the census in 1880 finds a Carl T. Wells, living in the household of his father, Thomas P. Wells, with no wife listed, in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County (District 1045). Carl is listed as age 14, which would have made him 18 in 1884, when the carving was done. On the same census, Julius O. Wells, is found in the household of his father Wilburn R. Wells, wife Sarah C. Julius’ age is listed as 13, making him around 17 at the time of the carving.
Records at Find a Grave for Thomas P. Wells and Wilburn Ransela Wells identify them as sons of Henry Miles Wells, and Mary (Polly) Sexton, which would make Carl T. and Julius O. first cousins. Both Thomas and Wilburn Wells were Confederate soldiers, who enlisted for service in 1862 in Atlanta. Being cousins, close in age, and living near one another, Carl and Julius undoubtedly grew up together in Stone Mountain. In 1880, Wilburn R. Wells’ family is listed a few households away from the Tuggle family, where Annie Logan Anderson was living. Annie is one of the subjects of another carving from 1878, in the same area as that of the Wells cousins and Gustavus Goldsmith. Thomas’ occupation in 1880 is “hardware merchant,” and Wilburn is listed as a “farmer/merchant”.
Given the similarity in the style of the carving for Gustavus and the Wells cousins, it seems likely it was done at the same time, and possibly by the same person, though there are slight stylistic differences in the carvings. The one for Gustavus is less bold than the two for the Wells cousins, and has eroded considerably over the years. No familial connection has been found between Gustavus, and the Wells family, but there are listings for Francis Goldsmith Wells (1861-1943), and Henry Goldsmith Wells (1882-1935), in Stone Mountain Cemetery, though what connection they have with Gustavus and the Wells cousins, if any, is not apparent. There is also a Goldsmith family living near Wilburn’s household in 1880, but again, no connection has been found between them and the subjects of the carving. It’s possible each man did his own carving, in whatever was the style of the times, but, given that he’s the only one of the three later specifically identified as a stone cutter, Gustavus is a good candidate for being the carver.
In 1900, Carl T. Wells is listed as head of a household, with wife Ida J., in Stone Mountain, DeKalb County. They have three sons and two daughters. The census lists his date of birth as October, 1866, that he and his wife married in 1888, and that they are the parents of five children, all living, which accounts for the sons and daughters in their household. By 1910, Carl and family have moved to Redan, DeKalb County, and his wife is listed as Bertha E. (married two years according to the census). His occupation is listed as a contractor in the granite industry; two of his sons also work in that industry, one as a book keeper, the other as a granite cutter, no doubt at Stone Mountain.
Find a Grave lists his full name as Carl Thomas Wells, his date of birth as October, 1866, and date of death as 31 January 1911. He’s listed as the son of Thomas Wells and Emily A. Dean. His first wife is listed as Ida Jackson McCurdy (1865-1903), and his second wife is Bertha E. Mason (1877-1939).
Julius O. Wells is listed as head of a household on the census in 1910, 1920, and 1930, and in 1940, Mrs. Julius O. Wells is listed as head of household as a widow. Julius’ occupation on the census is salesman or commercial trader. In 1920, he’s listed as a traveling salesman, and in 1930, as a salesman in the food industry.
Find a Grave lists Julius O. Wells’ date of birth as 18 December 1866, and date of death as 17 November 1931. His parents are Wilburn Ransela Wells (1833-1906), and Sarah Cook Gordon (1835-1885); spouses Fannie Stoy (1866-1906) and Lucy G. Veal (1867-1899). Julius is buried with many other members of the Wells family, including his cousin Carl, in Stone Mountain Cemetery.
GLENN “CODGER” BUTLER
This one isn’t a carving on the mountain, but anyone who’s walked around the perimeter of the mountain will have seen this bench, near where the 4½ mile marker used to be (the 4½ and 3½ markers are now missing). It’s just before walkers get to the utility road that leads up to the walk-up trail.
There is a rather extensive write up on Russell Glenn “Codger” Butler at his Find a Grave entry, that’s taken from his obituary in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution from 18 September 2001, so I’ll just paraphrase here. He was born 31 July 1934, and died 17 September 2001. He worked in the Stone Mountain Post Office for twenty-six years, retiring in 1996. He’s buried in Bethel Community Cemetery, Stone Mountain, DeKalb County.
I sent an email to the information address at Stone Mountain some years ago and the respondent said that the bench was put there by friends and family. Nowadays, Stone Mountain has a program for people wishing to dedicate benches in memory of loved ones.