Colonial Cemetery is located on the corner of Ogelthorp and Abercorn. It was the main cemetery in Savannah from 1750-1853. There are only about 600 grave stones left but it is estimated that more than 10,000 people made it their final resting place, over 700 of these in the yellow fever epidemic of 1820.
Royal governors, patriots, merchants, the state's first newspaper publisher, and members of the First Continental Congress are among those buried there. Button Gwinnett who was one of the three Georgian signers of the Declaration of Independence is perhaps the most famous. He was killed in a duel with General Lachlan McIntosh. Both men are now buried in this cemetery. within a short distance of each other. If you are interested, you can view the dueling pistols that they used at the Georgia Historical Society. Duels were so common that there is a Duelist section
in the cemetery. Colonial Cemetery also figures very prominently in many of the ghost stories prevalent in the city .
Today, this is a well-used city park as well as a cemetery. It is also the only place in Savannah where you don’t need to keep your dog on a leash. It is a fascinating place to just walk through. There are historical plaques all over telling you about the famous and infamous people who are buried here and there are very pretty walkways. What we first noticed as we walked along Abercorn was a cluster of Irish names, then as we kept walking the names became French, then there were some Scottish names. It was a microcosm of life in Savannah and each group of immigrants. As we walked through, I watched three cemetery workers as they probed a grave. I was almost curious enough to ask them if they were going to have a burial, but I didn’t. Usually the reason they probe is to see if there has been a previous burial in a grave.
Along the far wall of the cemetery, they have a whole line of tombstones mounted on the wall.
These are ones that were removed by General Sherman's troops when they set up their camp in the cemetery and they no longer know where they belong. One good thing is that they have remained quite well preserved. They do make for interesting reading. We found one for a young man name Bowles, who it says was from Connecticut. Bowles is a very well know name in our state.
Take the time to appreciate the gate at the entrance;
it is quite impressive. Paid for by the Daughters the American Revolution, it has recently undergone extensive renovation. Allow yourself an hour or more for a leisurely stroll through this history lesson on Savannah.