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.
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.
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.
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.