Research, documentation and preservation are among the ways to share family history with future generations and honor ancestors, and Betty and Larry Backer of Blue Ridge, Texas recently visited Butts County to complete the final piece of a long-term project.

Dr. John Saunders, an ancestor of Betty Guy Backer, is documented in the History of Butts County Georgia 1825-1976 as one of the county’s early physicians. In 2017, Betty Backer, who is a DAR member in Texas, contacted the William McIntosh Chapter NSDAR in Jackson regarding the burial site of Dr. Saunders. Assistance was provided in uncovering the overgrown cemetery through the help of Butts County Sheriff Gary Long and his work details.

The Backers have made several trips to Butts County, placed fencing around the cemetery site, and recently placed a plaque on the fence documenting the names of those known to be buried in the Saunders Family Cemetery. On a prior visit, Betty Backer took an old, rusty, broken post of the original cemetery fence to her home in Texas as a link to her Georgia ancestors and roots.

Dr. John Saunders was born in 1782 in Southampton County, VA. He died in 1843 in Butts County. He was not a Revolutionary War Patriot but is an ancestor of Betty Backer through her mother’s lineage. She also has ties to Butts County through her great-grandfather, James M. Brownlee.

Through this project, Betty Backer and local DAR member, Charlene Brownlee Bryson, discovered they are distant cousins.

Copies of the History of Butts County Georgia 1825-1976 is available for sale at Moye’s Pharmacy in Jackson.

Interested in joining the DAR? Have an ancestor who served in the Revolutionary War? Contact the William McIntosh Chapter at

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Senior Reporter

I have worked for community newspapers in Butts, Henry, Newton, Rockdale, and Upson counties for 30 years. I was Editor of the Jackson Progress-Argus from 1993-1999, and returned to the Progress-Argus as Senior Reporter in 2019.

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