[Entrance to the Hooper-McWilliams cemetery (photo by Larry Felton Johnson)]
The Hooper-McWilliams Cemetery began on the property of Cobb County resident Thomas Hooper, one of the first European-American residents of this county in the early 19th century. It is not known exactly when Hooper arrived, but Sarah Blackwell Gober Temple, in her book The First Hundred Years, A Short History of Cobb County, in Georgia, published in the 1930s, lists Hooper as part of the first wave of white people to move into the county beginning in 1832 just before the county was created in 1833.
The cemetery is tiny, especially when compared to the size of the modern perpetual-care cemetery described below.
It’s now adjacent to the larger Riverview Memorial Park but is not owned by the larger cemetery. Both cemeteries border Georgia Power’s Plant Atkinson, and are very close to the South Cobb Drive bridge over the Chattahoochee River.
Find-a-Grave lists 26 known interments. The oldest known burial, in 1836, was that of the infant Christian Hooper. William B. Miller, in 1985, is the most recent. The earliest graves are marked with rough stones, so it’s impossible to tell from onsite inspection whether the unmarked graves are from burials earlier than 1836.
Thomas Hooper himself died in 1879, and according to find-a-grave is buried in the cemetery.
The McWilliams family’s name became part of the cemetery via the marriage of Nancy Ann Hooper, the daughter of Thomas Hooper and Mary Herren Hooper, to David Love McWilliams in about 1854.
The cemetery is now slightly outside the city limits of Smyrna, GA. When burials began there it was probably within Boltonville, a 19th-century town covering much of that area on the Cobb County side of the river (not to be confused with the town of Bolton, directly across the Chattahoochee River in Fulton County).
Watch the slideshow below: