Just north of Chippewa Square,at Oglethorpe and Abercorn Streets, is Colonial Cemetery, first active in 1750. You’d be forgiven for assuming it’s the “D.A.R.” cemetery; the Daughters of the American Revolution contributed the ornate iron entranceway in 1913, thoughtfully dedicating it to themselves instead of the cemetery itself.
Unlike the picturesque beauty of Bonaventure and Laurel Grove cemeteries, Colonial Cemetery has a morbid feel. The fact that burials stopped here in 1853 plays into that desolation, but maybe another reason is because it’s the final resting ground of many of Savannah’s yellow fever victims.
Famous people buried here include Button Gwinnett, one of Georgia’s three signers of the Declaration of Independence. The man who reluctantly killed Gwinnett in a duel, General Lachlan McIntosh, is also buried there. The original burial vault of Nathanael Greene is in the cemetery, though the Revolutionary War hero’s remains were moved to Johnson Square over a century ago.
Vandalism through the years, mostly by Union troops, has taken its toll on the old gravestones. Many remain lined up along the east wall of the cemetery, with no one alive being able to remember where they originally stood.
© Jim Morekis from Moon Charleston & Savannah, 4th Edition