For well over a year
now [as of this writing in August 2004] I have been maintaining the Glynn
County Genealogy & History Website. While doing so people have been
slowly coming forward with their family histories, photos, and
heirlooms. One such photo was an early photo of a cemetery. It
is very rare to come across such a photo as this, because the Grant
Cemetery is in such a state of ruin today, that by looking at this old photo,
then looking at the recent photos, you can't believe that this is the same
cemetery. Why? Several reasons, but two of the most prominent,
two ledgers are missing, and one has been moved across from the others!
According to the
plaque that was erected outside of the cemetery wall in 1986 there were
only 5 burials in this cemetery, all children of Robert & Sarah (Foxworth)
But as you can tell
from this photo, there are more than just 5 graves here. And if you
look at the photo of today, the ledgers are not in a straight line like
they are in the photograph to the left. Emelia's grave is
slanted at an angle, then there is Robert's grave, then the two
baby graves of James Couper and Sarah Grant
that you see pictured above on the far right. The baby grave that is
third from right, Harry Grant, today is across from the the
rest of the graves.
So, what happened in
this cemetery? And, when did it happen? Was it vandalism, was
it merely storm damage,
were the bodies moved? According to the plaque, Robert &
Sarah Grant were buried at Christ Church on St. Simons
Island; were the rest of the children removed there too?
As you can see in this
picture to the right, there isn't any room for those two double slabs between
and the babies, there is only a foot or two of space. But it appears
that all of the ledgers were moved away from their original positions.
Maybe suggesting that when the land was sold repeatedly over the years
that perhaps the Grant family were all exhumed and removed to Christ Church?
Very curious indeed!
January of 2002, I [Amy Hedrick] first cleaned this cemetery
with the help of my boyfriend Al Brown, and transcribed the stones
as well as I could. It involved several hours, just to clean one
half of the burial ground. Unfortunately a chainsaw had to be
brought in first, just to get into the cemetery, then back breaking labor
of hand clipping all of the shrubs and weeds away from the ledgers.
Not to mention pulling hundreds of ticks of each other!
We then had to bring 5
gallon buckets full of water from about a mile away to clean the stones of
dirt and debris from our "chopping" of brush. I talked to the
president of the children's program that resides on this old plantation
now about the maintenance of this cemetery; he said that they
maintain it themselves. Could have fooled me. He informed me that
after I cleaned it that they would be sure to keep it maintained from now
on; that didn't happen.
this year, 2004, I went back out to see what kind of progress they had
made with the cemetery and had found, of all horrors, a tree had fallen
into the cemetery, causing the damage to the wall you see on your left.
I went back a few months later to take pictures. The tree was gone,
but the damage was done.
Not only did it break away
this whole corner, but it has demolished the stairs leading into the
cemetery. It may very well have ruined the ledgers
that remain inside.
But as you will see
from the next photo, you can not tell if the ledgers have been damaged
you can no longer see them anymore either!
So much for "we
maintain the cemetery". This is a youth group school, certainly they
can make this part of a program where these children can go out and clean
the cemetery, but maybe that's asking too much. It certainly is a
shame, as this is, so far, one of the oldest documented cemeteries on the
mainland. I guess because it is not on St. Simons Island, it is not
important enough to garner special attention.
Being the good citizen
that I am, I do clean these cemeteries, regardless of what the law states
about who should be in charge, because if we wait around for someone to
step forward, this is what happens, and we lose a piece of our history.
I have asked
some other Grant family members to help maintain the cemetery, but they just avoided the question.
However, if it turns
out that no one is buried here, it may not be so upsetting after all!
It still is a piece of history that should be preserved though, as the
original tombstones are still there, even if the family is not.
However, as of 2018, new interest has been taken
in the property and its history. A book was published about the history of
the school and a documentary may be in the works which will tell more
about the history of the land, the people, and the school.