Tag Archives: Chatham county

Isle of Hope Union Baptist Church, Georgia

Savannah, Chatham County

Founded in 1872, this church is still active. It’s not the same congregation as the Isle of Hope Baptist Church. The current structure was built in the 1940s.

Pin Point Heritage Museum, Georgia

Savannah, Chatham County

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, Georgia

Pin Point, Chatham County
Edward Anderson

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.

Reverend Peter Famble

Ella Garmon
Margaret Devoe
Clarence Fleming, 1994-2017

St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church and School, Georgia

Burroughs, Chatham County

Built in 1896, St. Bartholomew’s Church is the longest continuing Black Episcopal congregation in the state. The school, now the parish hall, was built in 1897.

The Victorian elements of the church make it a standout in rural church architecture. It was placed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

The church is still active with services offered twice a month. They are held in the afternoon, which is a long-standing tradition of the church.

Houston Baptist Church, Georgia

Port Wentworth, Chatham County

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.

For earlier photos before restoration and more history, please read The Houston Museum Project.

Epitaphs that tell a story

Five family members lost their lives in a fire when gasoline the father was pouring into another container was too close to open flame. The Cochran family members are laid to rest in the Mica Baptist Church in Cherokee County, Georgia.

The Victorians used symbolism to discuss death. From heavenly hands reaching down to earth to wilted flowers, the use of words was rarely utilized to discuss the tragedy of death. Sometimes seen prior to 1900, there was a slight change in the 1900s where the manner of death was permanently shared as part of an epitaph. While not a frequent find, I admit these epitaphs always leaving me wanting to know more.

Brothers Charles and Walter McGuire drowned when their boat capsized in Thunderbolt. While it is hard to see, their names are at the top of the monument. They are laid to rest with their parents in Catholic Cemetery in Savannah.
Millard Chalker, a Gibson, Georgia business owner, was ambushed by a bandit. He was killed for the money in his pocket. He is laid to rest in Gibson City Cemetery in Glascock County, Georgia.
I was unable to find a newspaper article about Samuel’s death, but the epitaph let’s us know he drowned during the summer. His marker can be found in the Oconee Hill Cemetery in Athens, Georgia.

John J. Kelly Monument, Georgia

Savannah, Chatham County

Sculpted by J. J. Horgan, the John J. Kelly monument pays tribute to John J. Kelly (1818-1872), a businessman and a leader among the Irish community in Savannah. The markers was erected by the Hibernian Society, a fraternal society offering aid and support to Irish citizens.

This monument is listed on the Smithsonian’s Save Outdoor Sculpture database and can be found in Laurel Grove North Cemetery in Savannah.

Davis Monument at Laurel Grove South, Georgia

Full view of sculpture

There’s only one Victorian sculpture in Laurel Grove South Cemetery, the historic Black cemetery in Savannah. It happens to be a John Walz, of Gracie fame. I am unable to confirm much about John and Clara Davis. At one point, I read they were shopkeepers, but I cannot recall the source.

John Walz was a German-American sculptor who moved to Savannah after visiting to help install monuments his company made for the Telfair Museum. My understanding is that no one is certain how many monuments he made for cemeteries, but it’s well-above 80.

Louisa Porter monument, Georgia

Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia

Louisa Alexander Porter (1807-1888) was from a prominent family in Georgia. A generous philanthropist, she helped fund the beginning of the “Refuge for the Homeless” which provided housing for homeless women and children. The Louisa Porter Foundation honors her legacy.

Her monument, designed by Antonio Caniparoli, is made of Carrara marble and is listed on the Smithsonian Saving Outdoor Sculpture database. It is in Laurel Grove North Cemetery.

Evergreen Cemetery, Georgia

Savannah, Chatham County

I visited the cemetery in Savannah for the first time in 2014. It’s a historic African American cemetery that has faced hardship due to poor management. While the lack of care for the cemetery is problematic, the vernacular headstones remind us how much these people were loved.

As of 2021, the owner of the cemetery has passed away, and families are still struggling to get the cemetery cleaned.