Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah

The sun was shining from early this morning, and although it was still cold I headed out to Bonaventure at 9:30. It is about a 20 minute drive from here, which insures that I will return at least once.

I had read so many stories about this cemetery and how it is haunted, that I hoped I would at least feel a little trepidation as I entered the place. Strange visions and spirits hovering about would have been welcome too. But as any genealogist knows, a cemetery is one of the most peaceful, calm, and loving places you can be. When approached with respect, the spirits of the dead seem to be clamoring for attention and remembrance – “See my marker? Read my inscription! And those of my spouse and children!” I felt an immediate sense of welcoming calm and benevolence as I began my walk through Bonaventure Cemetery.

I came in through the Jewish gate and all of the graves in that section are inscribed, at least in part, in Hebrew. Most of the graves were topped with lots of small stones, which is not uncommon in many cemeteries, although I only found it in the Jewish section here. As I was leaving I again went through this section, and noticed that one of the graves had no little mound of stones, so I found one and placed it on Rose’s tombstone!

I was struck by the beautiful, fluid movement of the spanish moss which is draped from the trees. There was even a tall statue on one of the tombstones that had moss hanging from various parts, but unfortunately the light in that particular spot made photo taking an absolute zero.

This is one of the many lanes that crisscross the cemetery sections, allowing access to just about all the graves and family compounds:

I got several photos of interesting looking mausoleums and structures:


Then there are the statues, and I’m including a sampling. Several aren’t as clear as I would like, but the surrounding foliage is interesting, I think.




The next two statues are the one I think is most beautiful, and the other is of “Gracie”, a small child who died of pneumonia at the age of 6 in the late 1890’s. You can see that the fingers of the statue are all missing. This is the case with nearly every statue I saw, and is no doubt from vandalism – maybe people want a souvenir? That would certainly bring a person luck! Those fingers don’t just fall off, at least not in the numbers that are missing. Gracie’s grave is surrounded by an iron fence, no doubt to deter souvenir hunters, and I had to take the picture through the bars.


No visit to Bonaventure would be complete without viewing the graves of Savannah’s famous son, Johnny Mercer, and his family. Johnny was a composer and singer, co-founder of Capitol Records, and winner of 4 Academy Awards. His and his wife’s graves are inscribed with the titles of two of his songs: “His: “And the angels sing”, and his wife’s “You must have been a beautiful baby”. I got a decent photo of his wife’s marker but Johnny’s was in too much shadow so I’m not including either one. There is a memorial bench though, which is inscribed with the titles of some of his songs, including the one I know best, “Moon River”.

I walked a lot more than I’m used to, and although it was warm enough in the sun it was still cold in the shade, so I came back home after about two hours. I changed clothes, packed the dog and an empty propane tank into the truck, and headed to Ace Hardware. I was going to have the second tank topped off but it was heavy and I figured I could probably have waited a few more days before running out. See, I’m learning – put off getting propane and risk freezing!

I also took about 24 pictures in black and white, plus the 40 in color. I won’t be able to get the B&W developed until Sunday, my next day off. I took a lot of statuary and obelisks in B&W. The cemetery sits on a bluff overlooking the river, and when I go back I hope to get some pictures from that area. It is really a huge place and needs much more time and repeated visits.

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8 Responses to Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah

  1. nancy says:

    a lady after my own heart, grew up next to a cem. it was my playground met many friend there,cem are a wonderful place to walk and read you learn much history,i to do family historynancy

  2. I like photographing cemeteries as well & have always found them very special & calm places. Many stories & many memories. Sometimes the inscriptions are sad, sometimes informative, & sometimes humorus. If your in a shady situation set your camera to use it's flash to fill in the shadows with a puff of light.

  3. Very nice pics of the cemetery, Gypsy. They are pretty interesting places for sure – sorry you didn't see any ghosts though!

  4. What a lovely thing to do for Rosie! It is a very serene place. Thanks for the pictures. Happy Trails, Penny, TX

  5. Margie M. says:

    Great post, Gypsy. Wonderful photos of the cemetery. We once had a picnic in a cemetery in Ferndale, California. It was marked on the Chamber of Commerce map as a picnic area…so we did. Nice view from the hilltop of the town below, too. Cemeteries are very interesting places, thanks for the tour.

  6. Bob says:

    Great story Gypsy. Sure glad to hear of someone else shooting B&W film.

  7. Jim and Dee says:

    Awesome pictures with all the moss. I love cemetery, lived by one all my young years. Jim says he'll take us both at midnight.

  8. Rae says:

    Wonderful post about a wonderful cemetery!We took a lot of the same pictures during our tours. 🙂

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