Behavior Cemetery is an active cemetery believed to have been in existence prior to the Civil War. It now serves as a burial ground for the descendants of the earliest Black families who have called Sapelo Island home.
The cemetery was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The cemetery features many handmade markers that span several decades and more recent granite markers. Burial patterns are not in rows, and the older burials towards the middle and back of the cemetery.
Built as the Sapelo Island outpost for the the Colored Farmers’ Alliance and Cooperative Union, the Farmers’ Alliance Hall serves as gathering place for Sapelo Islanders and their descendants. It was restored in 2008 under the guidance of the Sapelo Island Cultural and Revitalization Society, an organization, an organization dedicated to saving the historic resources on the island..
Founded in 1884, St. Luke’s Baptist Church is still an active church with services every other Sunday. It was formed by former members of the First African Baptist Church. The church was initially called the 2nd Baptist Church. Current structure has been in use since 1902.
St. Luke’s also had one of two Rosenwald Schools on the island. Everything I’ve read states that the school is still standing and is being used by the church. If that is the case, this is the school, but it has been heavily modified. I hope to get confirmation that this is the building.
This is a family cemetery where the family name is either Hutcherson or Hutchinson. Based on the repetition of names, this cemetery has been in use for a hundred years. It is still an active cemetery as seen by the last photo. Throughout the cemetery, there is pvc pipe next to markers. In most of them, there were silk flowers placed inside like a small vase.
Located in the A. S. Varn and Son Oyster and Crab Factory, the Pin Point Heritage Museum, the museum shares the story of the freed men and women who founded the Pin Point community in 1890. It showcases the Gullah/Geechee culture.
Residents of the community can trace their lineage to the men and women who were once held in bondage on the Sea Islands. According to the Heritage Museum website, “With the property continuing to be passed down generation to generation, it is now believed to be the largest African-American owned waterfront property on the East Coast.”
Pin Point Cemetery shares land with the Sweetfield of Eden Baptist Church. It’s a small cemetery in the heart of the fishing community founded by freedmen and women from the Sea Islands. I cannot discern if the Pin Point Cemetery and Sweetfield of Eden graveyard are the same or if there was a boundary line that was no longer apparent.
The Sunbury Missionary Baptist Church formed out of the Sunbury Baptist Chirch (c. 1806). During an 1846 census, the church had 161 men and women in bondage that enslaved by the white members of the church.
In June of 1866, this church was founded. they held services until 1918, the it was decided to relocate the church to the current site.
Founded in 1886 by Reverend Ulysses S. Houston of the First Bryan Baptist Church in Savannah, the Houston Baptist Church was founded to provide for the spiritual needs of the men and women of Rice Hope Plantation. The church, and the adjoining cemetery, sit on part of the land that used to make up the plantation. When built, it took over the footprint of a praise house that existed there during slavery.
The church was active until the 1970s. Unfortunately, it fell into disrepair, and it almost collapsed after a storm in 2007. The community chose to rebuild the historic church. It presently is a museum that focuses on the Black history of the surrounding community.
Talbird/Tabor/Talbot Cemetery is the largest Gullah cemetery on Hilton Head Island. On one side are condos and the other is Skull Creek. The cemetery’s founding is in the 1800s, but the exact date is not known. The Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church tends to the cemetery that experienced significant damage during Hurricane Matthew.
Mitchelville was the first town built for newly freedmen and women in 1862 after Hilton Head fell to Union troops in 1861. The town was named for Union general, Ormsby Mitchel, who set up this town with roads, churches, and homes.
Drayton Cemetery is another Gullah Cemetery connects directly to those original freed men and women, as it is believed this cemetery started before the start of the Civil War.
It features several markers of members of the United States Colored Infantry.
It is cared for by the congregation at St. James Baptist Church.
Founded in the mid to late 1800s, Joe Pope Cemetery is one of several Gullah cemeteries on Hilton Head Island. The land is owned by the Queen’s Chapel AME Church, but it is maintained by the Mt. Calvary Missionary Baptist Church.
Flanked by condos and one of the many golf courses on Hilton Island is an historic cemetery called Braddock’s Point Cemetery. While the earliest death date on a marker is during the Civil War, it is believed this also served as a burial ground for the people held in bondage at the nearby Braddock Point Plantation.
One of the burial practices with the Gullah Geechee people is to bury their loved ones with personal items. Sometimes it is the last dish they used, or another object of importance. Braddock’s Point Cemetery illustrates older and more modern interpretations of this practice.