Located on a side street on the outskirts of Milledgeville is one of the most impressive folk funerary monuments I’ve had the opportunity to document. The arched entryway for the Randolph Cemetery honors the Knights of the Pythias, Lodge 47. I would assume, minimally, they helped build this arch, but they likely had a hand in the start of this cemetery
The first Black KoP lodge was started in 1880 in Mississippi. I have not located much history about the Black history of KoP lodges in Georgia.
The shield on the right represents the Knights of the Pythias. The F, C, and B stands for friendship, charity, and benevolence. They are often flanked by swords, battle axes, or a spear to represent the weapons they used to fight their enemies.
At one point, it’s been documented that there were a handful of similar terra cotta markers like this one in the African American section at Memory Hill Cemetery. It is believed this marker was made at the McMillan Brick Company, a leading brickmaker in Milledgeville. It is believed the designs were made from stamps in the pottery shop at the brick factory.
The designs on this marker feature a sunflower, acanthus, and diaper (the crisscross pattern).
If you live in Georgia, you know about “Milledgeville” or Central State Hospital and its several thousand acre campus that, at its peak had over 13,000 patients being treated, or mistreated in many cases, for a variety psychiatric illnesses. It began in 1837, Georgia lawmakers approved the creation of a “Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum.” The Powell Building is one of the few remaining buildings still in use today. Most of the campus has fallen in disrepair.