Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Gracie Watson of Bonaventure Cemetery, Savannah, GA, Part I of V


The site of this Savannah, Georgia cemetery is on the grounds of an 18th century plantation, originally home to the Tattnall and the Mullryne famililies from 1760-1765.  They named this cemetery Bonaventure, meaning "Good Fortune".   More history will follow in subsequent posts.  To wet your appetite, if you have time, please click here to see an introduction to a few "voices from the past"

For now I would like to introduce you to Gracie Watson, one of the more famous statues in the cemetery.  She was an only child and lived between 1883 - 1889 and known for her sweetness.  Her wealthy parents managed the Pulaski House, a famed Savannah Hotel.  She came down with and died from pneumonia two days after Easter 1889.  A more detailed version I heard was that she had run out into the street to catch a ball and was run over by a carriage.  While in the hospital, she contracted pneumonia, and died.  The sculptor John Walz (1844-1922) was a sculptor of stone architectural sculptures and relief ornaments for many Savannah public buildings.  He created numerous funerary monuments for local cemeteries.  He was presented with a photograph of the Watson's beloved daughter and he created this detailed and beautiful life-like image of Gracie.   Her hand rests upon the "Tree of Life" symbolically "cut short".


Tour guides like to say that she haunts the current Pulaski Hotel, but she does not.  The original Pulaski House Hotel was torn down and rebuilt elsewhere.


If she haunts anyplace, it is said to be here, in the cemetery.  As legend has it, people, especially children, like to leave gifts of small toys or pennies, especially at Christmas.  Below you can see a pink flower at the gate.


It is said that one might hear crying if the presents are removed and see tears of blood, perhaps, on the statue's face.  If you are interested in more information, I thought that Daniel Stainer HERE did a fine job with his words on Gracie Watson and did a beautiful job with his photography.

The following photo is for "Black & White Wednesday"

10 comments:

texwisgirl said...

nice photos of this monument and great history of the story behind it.

G-Man said...

Margaret Bednar...
Your posts are so vibrant with color and information.
What a Joy you are....Thanks

Bonnie said...

beautifully captured, on every level, margaret

Linda Makiej said...

I love the black and white - it gives it a "timeless" quality!

Carol Blackburn said...

Great post, however I think the maker of that statue did her an injustice with having her eyes rolling up in her head that way, she sure looks haunting (unless that's how she really looked). Your photos are wonderful.

Margaret said...

The whole cemetery is "timeless" and if you follow my next few posts, unlike anywhere else in the world. Carol, I agree that her eyes look strange, but my guess is it was to show her looking heavenward. Thanks, everyone for commenting!

lisa said...

This is a beautiful monument, and you have photographed it wonderfully Margaret. Thank you also, for sharing the interesting history behind it.

Ginnie said...

Such stories really touch the human spirit, Margaret. She is now bigger in death than perhaps she ever would have been in life. Maybe that happens to most of us?

Ginnie said...

All my comments left yesterday were eaten by Blogger, Margaret. Arrgh. I hate it. But what a sweet statue of Gracie. Clearly she was loved! A little angel.

Margaret said...

Ginnie - I saw all your posts, thank you! I'm actually missing one ... a LONG one on Bonaventure. I'm hoping I get it back, but if not, I will work on it again over the weekend.