Even in the afterlife, long-time residents choose to remain in Buckhead. At historic Sardis Cemetery, where it’s estimated more than 750 people are buried, gravestones carry their names: Irby, Rolader (read about this family in our cover feature), Collier, Holcombe, Plaster, Mayson, Cheshire, Hicks, Cofield, Hildebrand and many more. These are families who contributed heavily to the development of Buckhead. Here, read a little bit more about those who repose at Sardis Cemetery and their contributions to our community, according to the Buckhead Heritage Society.
Henry Irby (1807-1879)
On Dec. 18, 1838, Henry Irby bought land lot 99 of the 17th district from Daniel Johnson for $650. The 202 ½ acres of land surrounded the present intersection of Peachtree, Roswell and West Paces Ferry roads. Irby soon cleared a portion of land and built a general store at the present corner of West Paces Ferry and Roswell roads, with a home nearby. It is often recounted that a buck’s head hanging on a post near his tavern gave Buckhead its name. Irby was initially buried on his property but later moved by his son, Fulton, to the Sardis cemetery.
Rial Bailey Hicks (1827-1902)
Hicks was the postmaster of the community’s post office during the 1850s and married Henry Irby’s oldest daughter, Sarah Jane, in 1854. He later served as a schoolmaster and subsequently managed Irby’s general store. Hicks had a home at the corner of Ivy and Old Ivy roads.
Rev. William Joseph Rolader (1816-1893)
Rolader settled in Buckhead in the mid-1850s after immigrating to America from Germany in 1828. Rolader served as a circuit-riding minister who conducted services at Sardis Church. His son, William Washington Rolader, founded Rolader pottery.
Napoleon H. Cheshire (1843-1921)
Along with his brother, Cheshire bought a large tract of land along what is now Cheshire Bridge Road after serving in the cavalry during the Civil War. He and his brother established farms in the area and cut the road that bears their name through the surrounding forest to their property.
Wesley Gray Collier (1824-1906)
Collier owned land from Peachtree Creek to north of West Wesley Road, a thoroughfare that bears his name. He built the first house north of Peachtree Creek at 2510 Peachtree Road (property that now sits across from Lindbergh Drive). Peachtree Heights Park was developed on land purchased from the estate of Wesley Gray Collier.
James Mathieson (1829-1895)
During the Civil War, Mathieson served in the 93rd Iowa Cavalry (Union). After the War, he remained in Atlanta and became supervisor of the Freedman’s Bureau that distributed food to the hungry. He also bought a large piece of property on the west side of Peachtree Road near Piedmont Road.