Village Cemetery, Glynn County

Peter Ramsey, 1873-1931

The Village Cemetery is located on the 258 acre Guale Preserve which is part of the Musgrove Plantation. It is a private cemetery that is only open to the ancestors of the enslaved who are originally buried there. This is one of the most incredible collection of vernacular headstones I have personally had the opportunity to document.

The glasswork and friezes are all done by an incredible artist(s). I tried to do genealogical searches to determine why these markers are here. Sometimes there are clues in the records, but I am unable to determine any.

My appreciation to Brian Brown to showing me this hidden treasure of a cemetery.

Hattie Lee, 1871-1929
John Davis, 1871-1927
Lucinda Ramsey, 1924-1956
William Ramsey, 1887-1952
Aaron Loman, 1891-1931
Camilla Sullivan, 1896-1923
Jim Hightower, 1884-1934
Albert Hampton, 1897-1937
Thomas Lee, 1881-1933 – “Death is eternal. Life why should …”

Hazel’s Cafe and Home, Glynn County

If you’ve ever been to St. Simon’s, you’ve likely seen the iconic Hazel’s Cafe sitting close to the edge of the road. Proprietors Hazel and Thomas Floyd ran this cafe for decades. Their home still stands next to the cafe. Their final resting place is in Stranger’s Cemetery.

Historical Harrington School, Glynn County

The Harrington School served the Black communities of St. Simons Island starting in the 1920s. It is not a Rosenwald school, but it is based on the one-teacher type plans. In 2011, it was listed as a Georgia Place in Peril. The community was able to save the building, and it reopened in June 2021.

Stranger’s Cemetery, Glynn County

Established in the 1880s, this cemetery was started for the burial of Black mill employees from the Hilton-Dodge Mill. According to island stories, locals kept to themselves and did not interact with those who came to work on the island. When locals passed, they would be interred wherever their ancestors, oftentimes local plantations, but the “Strangers” would be buried in this cemetery.

During the 20th century the cemetery was renamed Union Cemetery as four traditionally African-American churches on the island – St. Paul Baptist, Emanuel Baptist, St. Lukes Methodist, and First African Baptist – bonded together to maintain the burial ground for use by their congregants.

Hazel Cafe proprietors

The Restoration of Walker Grove Baptist Church, Screven County

The Newington Historical Society is working to restore this historic Black church in Screven County. You can read more about this church at Vanishing South Georgia and Historic Rural Churches of Georgia.

You can follow along with the restoration at Walker Grove Restoration on Facebook.

Girard Elementary School, Burke County

Main entrance

The Girard Elementary School, an equalization school, in Burke County, Georgia was recently put on the National Register of Historic Places. It was one of six schools built to continue segregation in the county, while replacing one and two room schools that were spread throughout the county. This building includes four classrooms, a library, and a cafeteria. It opened in 1955.

Street side
I am assuming this is either the library or cafeteria.
Classroom

Harville House, Bulloch County

Built in 1894 as a one-story home, the Harville House is a fascinating example vernacular architecture. The second floor was added in 1904. Abandoned for decades, the home and property is still owned by Harville ancestors. If you decide to visit, you can only photograph from the road.

Boggs Academy, Burke County

Boggs Academy, now the Boggs Rural Life Center, is a former boarding school that served the Black community of Keysville, Georgia. Founded in 1906 by the Board of Missions for Freedman, Presbyterian Church, it educated students in the grades 9 through 12. The reputation of the school grew, and it educated Black students from all over the country. Closing in 1984, it was the last remaining boarding school built for the education of Black youth.

The campus is quite large and is being restored. These photos show only a few of the buildings in existence.

Poplar Spring School, Fulton County

The Poplar Spring School sits on the grounds of the Poplar Spring United Methodist Church. Built when the church was a part of Campbell County, this is a beautiful example of a one-teacher type school.

The church began in 1867 in a brush arbor. This is at least the third physical structure the church has had in it’s history. You can read more of their history on the chirch’s website. Outside of the church and school, there is a small cemetery and picnic area on the church grounds.

Rock Chapel United Methodist Church, DeKalb County

Rock Chapel Methodist Church was the oldest Methodist congregation in DeKalb County, Georgia. Founded in 1825, the congregation started on what is Rock Chapel Road near where the Joseph Bond house is. In 1834, Bond donated land west of its first location. A church was built that burned in 1870. The current structure is what replaced that building.

Based on church documents, enslaved members were included in the church rolls. In 1846, 11 people were listed. In the 1858 rolls, the comgregation included 61 enslaved people.

Based on information I found online, I believe the congregation dissolved in 2016.

Lyon Farmhouse, Dekalb County

The Lyon Farmhouse, built around 1820 and restored in 2019, is considered one of the oldest remaining homes in Dekalb County, Georgia. Members of the Lyon Family occupied the home until 2007, even though ownership was transferred to the county in 2003. Prior to the end of the Civil War, the slave census records indicated that the Lyon family enslaved 17 people. After the Civil War, the freedmen and women of the Lyon family stayed in the area to start one of the oldest Black communities in the state. The community named Flat Rock served as an important support system to create a thriving community.

Notable descendants of the families who formed Flat Rock are Willie Gault (football player), Chris Tucker (comedian), and Warren Moon (football player).

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