08 October 2008

And the Angels Sing

Ok, this is Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, another place made famous by the book/movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, but also famous because of the notable people buried here. The land was bought between 1753 and 1764 by John Mullryne who became active in the politics of the colony. In 1769 he was contracted to rebuild the Tybee Island Lighthouse. In 1779, the Bonaventure Plantation became a hospital and shelter for French troops after the ill-fated Siege of Savannah. The Mullrynes were labeled as traitors after the war and moved to Nassau in 1782. The land was sold at auction, and changed hands several times over the following years. The first known adult buried here was Harriet Fenwick Tattnall in 1802. She was the wife of Josiah Tattnall who bought the land in 1785. In 1847, the land's owner at the time, Peter Wiltberger, incorporated much of the land into the Evergreen Cemetery Company. In July 1907 the cemetery was sold to the City of Savannah and was officially renamed Bonaventure Cemetery. In 1994 the Bonaventure Historical Society was created to help preserve the cemetery, and in 2001 it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Society also prints guide brochures to some of the more interesting burials. I did not see all of them in the brochure, and I found a few of my own, but here they are and I hope you find them as interesting as I did. Oh, and for anyone who asks, the "Birdgirl" statue on the cover of Midnight in the Garden... is no longer here. It was moved to the Telfair Museum. Above is the Colonial section of the cemetery, where many early colonists were buried.
Looking down one of the roads
Rufus Ezekiel Lester 1837-1906. He is not in the brochure, but I thought he was worth a look. Confederate soldier, State Senator 1870-1873, Mayor of Savannah 1883-1889, Congress 1890-1906
A plaque listing some of the burials in the Colonial section
Noble Jones 1702-1775. Arrived with James Oglethorpe in 1733, built Wormsloe Plantation, organized first local militia in 1751, served in Royal Council. More on him tommorow.
William Hodgson 1800-1871. US counsul to Algiers 1826-1829, curator of Georgia Historical Society 1845-1870.
Edward Telfair 1735-1807. Leader of the origianl Liberty Boys in 1774, Governor of Georgia 1786-1787, first governor elected under GA constitution 1789-1793.
Veterans of the World Wars

Commodore Josiah Tattnall III 1735-1807. US Navy 1812-1861, commanded Confederate Naval defenses 1861-1864. Credited with phrase "blood is thicker than water."
Hugh Mercer 1808-1877. West Point Grad 1828, commisioned Brigadier General in Confederate Army, placed in command of Savannah, joined Joseph Johnston in the Atlanta Campaign of 1864.
James Carmichael Herndon 1831- 1877. US Army surgeon, Assistant Medical Director of Confederate States, staff officer of General Lee.
Robert Anderson 1835-1888. Not the Robert Anderson of Fort Sumter fame, he was a West Point graduate who served the Confederacy 1861-65 and attained Brigadier General. Savannah Chief of Police 1866-1888.
Dr John T. Macfarland 1836-1888. Surgeon, GA Confederate 1st Volunteer Regiment, Georgia Sharpshooters, present at Fort Pulaski, GA/SC campaign. Savannah health officer 1865-1888.
Duncan Lamont Clinch 1784-1849. US Army 1808-1836. Key player in First and Second Seminole Wars, notably the attack on the Negro Fort on the Apalachicola River. Fort Clinch on the GA/FL border is named for him.
Richard Arnold 1808-1876. Helped organize Medical Association of GA, Mayor of Savannah 1842-1865, surrendered city to General Sherman in 1864
Jospeh Bryan 1812-1863. Served at siege of Vera Cruz 1846-1848, Chief of Savannah's Mounted Police 1854
Gracie Watson 1883-1889. Known as "Little Gracie", this child's grave topped by a sculpture of her in Sunday Best by John Walz, is one of the cemetery's most visited and well known sites.
John D. Mongin 1760-1833. Owned eleven of twelve plantations on Danfuskie Island, SC.
Alexander Lawton 1818-1896. President of Augusta and Savannah Railroad, member of House of Representatives and State Senate, Confederate General, President of American Bar Association.
Henry Jackson 1820-1898. Col Mexican War 1846-1848, Superior Court Judge 1849-1853, US minister to Austria 1853-1858, Confederate General
Conrad Aiken 1889-1973. Well-known poet and short story writer, Pullitzer Prize 1929.
John Beckwith 1831-1890. Second Bishop of GA Episcopal Church 1867, Established 20 churches and 5 missions including Savannah Orphanage for Confederate children
And finally the most famous resident, Johnny Mercer 1909-1976. Popular song writer, wrote more than 1,000 lyrics, four Oscars for movie lyrics, produced several Broadway shows. Grave below.

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