06 October 2016

Colonial Park Cemetery, Savannah

100_7968Originally the parish burial-ground of Christ Church, some of the earliest inhabitants of the Colony of Georgia here sleep…On the moldering tombstones of the little cemetery there are scores of historic names, not a few of which are still bright on the muster rolls of the Revolution; but Whigs and Tories alike lie here entombed.  For more than fifty years after Georgia became a State, men of distinction in every sphere of life were here laid to rest in the very core of Savannah's heart.  Just when the first burial was made in Old Colonial is uncertain; but three distinct eras have contributed to the treasury of sacred dust which this little plot of ground contains – Colonial, Revolutionary, and Commonwealth.  No interments have been made here since the early [eighteen] fifties; but it was not until 1895 that by decree of the Superior Court of Chatham County it became the property of the city of Savannah.  With this transfer of title, an old issue between the parish and the town was happily adjusted, the walls on three sides were taken down, a competent force of workmen employed to repair the tombs, to open new walks, and to beautify the grounds; and thus out of the remnants of Colonial Cemetery emerged what is today known as Colonial Park.


100_7967…Here, at almost any hour of the day, when the weather is pleasant, may be seen groups of little children, playing hide and seek among the tombs; energetic business men moving briskly along the walks which afford them convenient passage-ways to points beyond; or sightseers strolling leisurely over the green-carpeted area to read the inscriptions upon the ancient monuments.  Some of the oldest of the tombstones have disappeared forever.  Others rescued in broken fragments have been placed against the brick wall which still remains.  It is only fair to historic truth to state that the agencies of time, in producing this harvest of ruin, were re-enforced by the vandalism of Sherman's men, during the last year of the Civil War.  Not content with rifling the vaults for silver, they even made them abodes of habitation, emulating in this respect the example of a certain demoniac who lived at Gadara; and to judge from the mutilation of epitaphs the latter were no less possessed of unclean spirits than were the former.  ~ Lucian Lamar Knight, Georgia Historian, 1914





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