Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Trip to Savannah

Gracie Watson welcomes visitors to the Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia each day. It is sad and yet poignant that she does this still....
I have started  my memory of Savannah with this child because I was like a child as I viewed this Historical city. Savannah was inhabited by the Native American Creek Tribe called Yamacraw,
(a group of Creeks and Yamasees), whose leader was called Tomochichi, when in 1732 a Ship from Britain called " Anne" arrived  carrying 114 colonists.  They greeted the newcomers with the first "Southern Hospitality".  Among the people that came to settle the new colony was a man called General James Oglethorpe.
Because of the friendship between Tomochichi and Oglethorpe, Savannah was able to flourish unhindered by the warfare that marked the beginnings of many early American colonies. (The above information garnered from Wikipedia) Portrait of James Oglethorpe resides in the Wormlsey Plantation Home Museum. 
In 1740 George Whitefield founded the Bethesda Orphanage, which is now the oldest extant orphanage in the U S. (I wondered as I viewed this name if we were distant relatives and if they were more closely related to Joe and John Whitfield. If you find this out, please let me know.)
 There was a  letter from Benjamin Franklin that got my attention. He sent gifts to the new colony, of Rice  that he felt would grow in the almost tropical climate! The Museum at the Wormsley Plantation House is small but worth the trip. And we had the added bonus of a re-enactment while we were there. 
The Hearse Ghost Tour was fun, if hokey in parts, but still worth the price of 15 dollars. For an added bonus our hearse ran out of gas and we had to push it to the gas station. LOL. We probably could have gotten our money back but it did make the evenings entertainment memorable!
Our next stop was a midnight look at the Colonial  Park Cemetery. It was not open and we planned a trip the next day but there is something that I love about Cemeteries at night... Savannah is built upon throngs of people unidentified under the soil. That is one reason for the ghost tours and many, many stories that people tell of seeing spirits in the many establishments. In the back of the Colonial Park Cemetery  are gravestones that were placed on the wall. One of them is of Jacob R Taylor who at 18 was killed in a bar fight at "Pirates House", thought to be the oldest standing structure in Savannah. The cemetery also houses Button Gwinnett, a signer of the Declaration of Independence, who was killed in a duel while Governor of Georgia.   Story after story emerges as you read the many gravestones,  6 children lost in one family, duels fought over lost honor,   Revolutionary War General Nathanael Green ( Often misspelled as Nathaniel ) whose vault is still there but he is not, and 750 other colonists that died during the Yellow Fever outbreaks of 1820-1840. 
The other Cemetery we visited was Bonaventure. This cemetery is the one that houses the poignant little girl named Gracie that started my Adventure. The sculpture of her and others in the cemetery are so real, you feel as if they are right there with you. It is creepy and interesting all at the same time. Some of the great marble statues were carved by the Italian masters of the 18th century  and one of them struck me so much, that I could not move on for a while.

I felt at any moment she was going to speak.
 The monument to Johnny Mercer, co-founder of Capital Records.

 Some of what must be my family as they are Peacocks, Gilmores, and Morris families.
There was a section honoring the many people that have died in service to our country and I took a moment to pay them homage......

There are 22 squares in Savannah and I think we visited all of them. One is where Forrest Gump sat on a park bench telling us his story while waiting to catch a bus to go see Jenny. The little diner that Jenny worked at in the movie is near by and the falling feather that we watched in the beginning and end of the movie was dropped from a church steeple nearby the Wright Square where Tom Hanks sat, in the movie. We also visited the place that you see in the movie where Jenny said to Forrest, "Run Forrest Run" and he ran down that huge driveway of trees. It was magnificent to see  a part of our movie history in front of you. (Tom Hanks is one of only three actors to win an Academy Award Back to Back in our history). 
There were so many things that I would love to share with you and tell you, but what I took away from Savannah is that it is a beginning part of our American history. From the amazing African American Troops that fought for our Independence.

To the wonderful people that  started writing about it to make it come alive for us.

To the great food at Vic's On The River, which displays in part an amazing map, hand drawn by Union Soldiers detailing Shermans March from Tennessee to Georgia, and found hidden in a wall while renovating the building...

To the flagship "PeaceMaker" that is docked in the harbor for tours...

I think I could be comfortable in this! LOL..
 Savannah oozes history and I am so thankful that I had a chance to visit and see it with my family.  I could go on for hours and hours about all the things I saw, felt, or touched. The city impacted me. I felt like I was home amongst the ruins, the people gone on before, the Natives and the Colonials.
I learned a lesson about me  a long  time ago; Home is where I am..... Love to you all, Kimmee

1 comment: