Saturday, April 19, 2014

Bonaventure Cemetery, GA - 04/19/14


Saturday – April 19, 2014
Bonaventure Cemetery
Savannah, Georgia

Warm air coming in from the Gulf of Mexico and cold air coming in from the north created perfect conditions for rainstorms throughout southeastern Georgia. Up to three inches of rain fell in some areas during the period Thursday night through Friday night. Flash flood warnings were issued in several counties within and around the Savannah area.

Saturday morning arrived under an overcast sky with the temperature in the low fifties here at the Fort McAllister Historic State Park in Richmond Hills, Georgia. An overcast sky with the temperature reaching the low sixties is forecast for today, with the possibility for more rain tonight. We decided we would chance a road trip to the Bonaventure Cemetery in Thunderbolt, a small suburb of Savannah.

Bonaventure Cemetery is a National Registry Historic Place in Savannah, Georgia and one of the most scenic of the historic cemeteries there. In 1763, Colonel John Mullryne began acquiring land in Georgia. By 1764 he had several thousand acres and two sawmills in operation. In March 1764, he and his wife, their three daughters and two sons-in-law chose a site within three and one-half miles from Savannah to build their home, which they named Bonaventure.

In October 1769, Bonaventure plantation became a hospital for the French troops in their attempt to capture Savannah from British control. Many of these French troops probably lie buried at Bonaventure. In 1782, when Savannah was finally taken from British control, the Mullrynes were called traitors by the Revolutionary government. John and his wife left Bonaventure and moved to New Providence, Nassau, where John died in January 1786.

In June 1782, the six hundred Bonaventure tract was sold at public auction as government confiscated land to John Habersham. Josiah Tattnall Jr., youngest grandson of the Mullrynes, returned to Bonaventure and bought the property in 1785. It remained under the Mullrynes descendants control until it was sold on March 10, 1846, to Peter Wiltberger who owned Savannah’s three hotels. In 1847, Wiltberger incorporated seventy acres into the Evergreen Cemetery Company of Bonaventure for a public cemetery, the third since Savannah’s founding in 1733.

In July 1907, Evergreen Corporation sold the cemetery to the City of Savannah. Evergreen became Bonaventure Cemetery.

Many notable and prominent Georgians are laid to rest in the Bonaventure Cemetery. Among them are Johnny Mercer (1909 – 1976), one of America’s most popular songwriters, who penned more than one thousand lyrics. He received four Oscars for movie lyrics and wrote seven Broadway shows. One of his most popular songs was Moon River that was recorded by the very popular singer Andy Williams.

Bonaventure Cemetery contains separate sections of gravesites for Spanish-American War Veterans, Order of Railroad Conductors and a Jewish Memorial and Chapel for Holocaust survivors.

Visitors are drawn to the gravesite of "Little Gracie." It is a beautifully landscaped gravesite containing a marble sculpture of a little girl. The rectangular-shaped, gravesite is protected by a black wrought iron fence. Little Gracie Watson was born in 1833, the only child of her parents. Her father was manager of the Pulaski House, one of Savannah’s leading hotels, where the beautiful and charming little girl was a favorite with the guests. Two days before Easter, in April 1889, Gracie died of pneumonia at the age of six. In 1890, when the rising sculptor, John Walz, moved to Savannah, he carved from a photograph the life-sized, delicately detailed marble stature, which captures the interest of all that pass by. It is a beautiful and heartfelt tribute to this little girl who was taken from her loved ones at such a tender age.

We finished up our day of adventure with a sushi dinner at the Fuji Japanese Restaurant, located in a small strip mall on highway 17, in Richmond Hill, Georgia. This restaurant received five-star reviews from previous diners, so we decided to give it try. We arrived there at 5:30 p.m. and the place was empty. It's a small restaurant, perhaps seating around twenty diners. We had the pick of any table we wanted and selected one that provided us with a view of the sushi bar. The sushi choices we selected were delicious and well prepared. During our visit we noticed they were very busy taking phone calls for take-out orders. As the evening progressed, more diners started to arrive. The restaurant appears to be owned and operated by a young Asian couple with a young daughter, perhaps seven years old. We enjoyed a very nice dining experience and will definitely return on our future visits to Savannah, Georgia.

When we departed the restaurant more rain had entered the area and was coming down in a heavy downpour. The rain is forecast to clear out of the Savannah area on Sunday. We sure hope so! Enough of the rain already!

Tomorrow another adventure begins.

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