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Catholic Cemetery, Savannah

Opened in 1853, the Catholic Cemetery in Savannah is the final resting place for ancestors and family members of hundreds of Savannah Catholics. Four Bishops and many of our diocesan priests are buried here, as are veterans of the Civil War, Spanish-American War, two world wars, and the conflicts in Korea and Vietnam. Some of the older sections are notable for fine statuary, impressive monuments, and historical vaults.

History and Preservation

The Catholic Cemetery in Savannah was opened on August 2, 1853 by Bishop Francis X. Gartland, after he was unable to persuade the City Fathers to set aside a specially consecrated Catholic section in the new Laurel Grove Cemetery. He purchased eight and one-third acres from the Rhinehart Plantation for the sum of $833.00. After the Cemetery opened in 1853, additional remains were exhumed from Colonial Park Cemetery and reburied in what is now the Old Section. Many stones and markers were also transferred around this time. Walking through the Cemetery today you will see stones that predate its existence.

Savannah's Catholic Cemetery served as the encampment area for some General Sherman's troops after the surrender of the city on November 23, 1864. Sherman ordered fortifications to be built, a project which removed cemetery fences, leaving it open to vandalism and theft. During this time many graves were desecrated by troops. The Sisters of Mercy, with the assistance of local women, rescued the remains of two bishops, two priests, and four sisters. It was only in 1867, after Bishop Augustin Verot urged President Andrew Johnson and Edwin M. Stanton (Secretary of War) to restore the Cemetery to its former state, that they were reinterred.

More land was added to the first purchase, expanding the size of the Cemetery. The last addition was the Holy Cross portion in the rear of Hillcrest Abby East Cemetery, purchased by Bishop Gerald P. O’Hara in 1934.

The Savannah Catholic Cemetery Preservation Society was founded in 2003, with the purpose "to support the preservation and maintenance of the Catholic Cemetery in Savannah, GA; to compile a history of the cemetery and an inventory of...burials; and to promote the beautification and safety of the cemetery."

Savannah's Catholic Cemetery is located at 1720 Wheaton Street in Savannah, between the Harry S. Truman Parkway and the conjunction of East Gwinnett Street and Skidaway Road. It abuts Hillcrest Abbey Cemetery to the east.

Savannah Catholic Cemetery Index

The Savannah Catholic Cemetery Preservation Society, through the generosity of the RJ Taylor Jr. Foundation, published a three volume index of the Catholic Cemetery in Savannah.

Volume I was published in 2005 and covers grave sites in the Old Section of the Catholic Cemetery on Wheaton Street, listing those who have monuments or grave markers as well as those whose graves are unmarked. This volume is available for $25.

Volume II was published in 2008 and covers burials in Magnolia and Palmetto sections, as well as all those buried with no designated lot. Also included in this volume is information on 631 Confederate Veterans (soldiers and sailors) buried in this cemetery. It is available to purchase for $25.

Volume III was published in 2010 and includes burials in Dogwood, Holy Cross and Gartland sections. These are newer sections that include more recent burials. It may be purchased for $20.

You can purchase Volumes I, II, and III for the combined price of $55. All volumes are available for free to educational institutions.

Vol. I – $25 | Vol. II – $25 | Vol. III – $20
All Three Volumes – $55

All volumes are available for free to educational institutions.

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