As far as cemeteries go, Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia is a beautiful and historic area to explore. We spent part of an afternoon wandering around this peaceful cemetery during our July 2022 trip to Savannah. This was the only place not in walking distance from our hotel so we hired a taxi, which was actually quite reasonable. Plus we enjoyed conversation about Savannah with the driver.
History of Bonaventure Cemetery
Bonaventure Cemetery sits on the former Bonaventure Plantation. The British Army Colonel John Mullryne built the original home in 1762 although it burned shortly after and the home was rebuilt. His daughter, Mary, married Josiah Tattnall and the plantation continued on in the Tattnall family name with son Josiah Tattnall, Jr eventually owning it.
The families were loyal supporters of the British Royal Crown during the Revolutionary War. Because of this, the newly formed US government confiscated the home after the war. The plantation was offered at auction and John Habersham bought it. Mr. Habersham sold the plantation back to Josiah Tattnall, Jr. In time, the Tattnall family buried members of their family on the plantation property which in essence became the start of the Bonaventure Cemetery. Over the years there were other owners. After the civil war, part of the plantation became a public cemetery. Eventually, more land became part of the cemetery. You can read more about the history of this at this Bonaventure Cemetery link.
The day we visited the Bonaventure Cemetery was hot and muggy, but nonetheless we enjoyed wandering around in the peaceful and historic area. Many of the gravesites are not only historic, but they are a work of art.
Gracie Watson was only 6 years old when she died of pneumonia. Her parents ran a hotel in Savannah and Gracie was a favorite among the guests and residents. Gracie’s gravestone is a life size likeness of the little girl. It was based on a photograph of her. This is one of the most popular graves in the Bonaventure Cemetery and the story of little Gracie is retold throughout Savannah, Georgia.
Unknown what he passed from, Johnnie died at age 12. His gravestone depicts an angel holding a child. Perhaps carrying him to heaven.
To the right is General Alexander R. Lawton, a Confederate Brigadier General and his daughter, Corrine Elliott Lawton is buried on the left.
The Baldwin Angel
This beautiful sculpture stands over the grave of a wealthy businessman from Savannah named George, Johnson Baldwin and also his wife Lucy.
As it was quite hot, although I took many photos, I did not get information on some of the other gravestones but am including them as they are original and show the craftsmanship seen in this cemetery.
All in all, the Bonaventure Cemetery is a must see in Savannah, Georgia. The historic memorials are indeed a work of art. In addition, the live oak trees are adorned with Spanish moss. Even though it paints a bit of a spooky ambiance, I did not feel that it was scary, regardless of being an old cemetery. Then again, I was there during the day.