Colonial Park in Savannah, Ga. captured my attention quite by accident during my first days of living in the Hostess City. One a chilly February morning, I recall traversing down Abercorn Street, heading towards Victory Drive, my actual destination that day was Bonaventure, in hopes of seeing the Bird Girl: as I neared Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a sturdy, wrought iron fence entered my peripheral vision, and it stretched for what seemed forever. As I approached a red light, I slowed, stopped, and turned to see the fence, and just beyond it, I encountered a lovely, well manicured lawn, trees, sidewalks, and plants including dogwoods and azaleas….intermingled with what struck me as almost ancient tombstones. I stared longingly through the fence, until a gentle honk from behind forced me to remember I was in city traffic, and my light was now green.
The surprise encounter with an obviously historic site was the first of many pleasant, but unintended directions that obsession of cemeteries, coupled with history, has taken me. I did eventually make my way to Colonial Park, and I eventually took my family to visit.
Tourists and locals alike can be seen walking along the pathways of the park; often, many have their canine companions strolling with them. With benches, oaks and blooming trees and azaleas sprinkled throughout the Old Burial Ground, this ‘gated community’ is a beautiful place to walk, linger, converse, and learn of the Patriots who rest here. The upkeep and maintenance of these grounds is indeed an act of patriotism unto itself: we are presented with our own history in a welcoming manner, and well coupled with a love for nature – the trees were indeed the first item that drew my attention, along with the wrought iron fencing – the tasteful upkeep and aids in presenting to all of us a wonderful remembrance of Georgia’s and America’s forefathers, who risked their very life and well being for the birth of the nation. To my own delight, I have been truly excited to discover how many patriots were from Georgia; as much as I always understood Georgia to be the 13th of the ‘Original British Colonies’, I was immediately taken aback by my previous ignorance. It has been a wonderful journey to finally see first hand the history that Savannah and Georgia at large holds during that time of Revolution.
I do hope my photographs and history here does justice to those buried here, who helped to play a vital role in creating the Unites States…..and for those who came and died at a later time. They were all indeed the Creators and Instigators of this experiment that we Americans call home, and are privileged to be a part of today.
Colonial Park, also known as The Old Burial Ground, was established in 1750 in the Southeast corner of Savannah, Ga – just outside of the city walls. In the year 1758, Christ Episcopal Church, which was the first church founded in Savannah, procured ownership of Colonial Park. Later, in 1763, the city established the Act of 1763, which provided for the enlargement of the cemetery; the grounds were extended to the align with Abercorn Street on the western side, and for another 100 feet to the south. (1). I have visited Colonial Park on multiple occasions, and have always affiliated the physical address as being Abercorn Street, but there are 2 addresses listed: the City of Savannah lists it as being 200 Abercorn Street, but another listing is shown as 201 East Oglethorpe Avenue. The archway shown above, erected by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 19132, is on positioned at an angle where both streets intersect each other; the DAR wished this archway to honor the Revolutionary War Dead buried here. According to the City of Savannah website, Colonial Park served as the primary burial place to for the public until 1853.
Archibald Bulloch (1737-1777) rests in Colonial Park. Mr. Bulloch was a soldier and a lawyer in Georgia during the War of Independence; while James Oglethrope was indeed the first executive officer of Georgia at it’s founding, Mr. Bulloch does have the title of the first governor of the colony. He is also the great-great grandfather of Teddy Roosevelt. As a soldier, he demonstrated himself to be a highly daring individual when he led in the arrest, in 1776, of the Royal Governor, James Wright. When British war ships arrived in the area, Bulloch led the expedition that drove the British military off of Tybee Island.