Tag Archives: South Georgia Memorials

Lark Martin Memorial, Fitzgerald

When I was paying my respects to family members recently, I came across this memorial in Evergreen Cemetery. The name was familiar because when I was growing up, I recall my grandmother and great-grandmother speaking fondly of Lark Martin as Fitzgerald’s most famous hero of World War II. They even had a copy of The Saturday Evening Post which featured a story about him. Captain Lark E. Martin, Jr., was born on 9 October 1922 and when he was still a teenager, he was already a B-24 pilot serving in the Pacific Theater with the Jolly Rogers Bomber Squadron, 5th Air Force, based in Port Moresby, New Guinea.  A little over a month before his 20th birthday, on 2 September 1943, while piloting the “Battlin’ Betts”, Martin was killed in action. His co-pilot, engineer, radio tech, and five passengers were also lost.

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Filed under --BEN HILL COUNTY GA--, Fitzgerald GA

William John Wren Memorial, Wrens

William John Wren was the founder and namesake of the town of Wrens. This memorial is located beside the post office, with the Wren House visible in the background. I’m not sure when it was placed here, but it was likely around the time of Mr. Wren’s death.

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Filed under --JEFFERSON COUNTY GA--, Wrens GA

Lewis Brothers, Montezuma

montezuma ga felton cemetery lewis brothers monuments photograph copyright brian brown vanishing south georgia usa 2016

The two most famous residents of Montezuma’s historic Felton Cemetery are the Lewis Brothers. Elijah John Lewis (11 February 1879-8 August 1893) had an attack of appendicitis traveling to New York with his uncle William “Minor” Lewis to buy stock for their store. He died in Chester, South Carolina while awaiting medical attention. Robert Landrum Lewis (16 January 1881-18 March 1895) saved an eight-year-old boy named Frank Hague from drowning in Beaver Creek and on the next day was accidentally shot by Leo Hertz. It was first though that he would survive but he died in his sleep. The boys’ father, Elijah Banks Lewis, was so saddened by the loss of his sons that he ordered marble statues from Italy in their likeness. There are many other wonderful monuments and memorials in this cemetery.

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Filed under --MACON COUNTY GA--, Montezuma GA

Royal Singing Convention Memorial, 1991, Mystic

Royal Singing Convention Memorial Mystic Baptist Church Irwin County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

In July 1893 delegates and members of vocal classes established by William Jackson “Uncle Billy” Royal assembled at Irwin Institute to organize the Royal Singing Convention. From 1893 until 1912 the Convention met in Irwin and surrounding counties in churches of different denominations or in school houses. In 1912 a huge tent was purchased to accommodate the large number of people attending. In 1919 the people of Mystic established a fund to build a tabernacle to serve as a permanent home for the convention. The tabernacle was erected on this site in time to house the 1920 session. Changes in society and advancements in technology brought an end to the Royal Convention after meeting continuously each July for 85 years. The final session was held in 1977. The tabernacle was razed in 1982. [The New Georgia Encyclopedia notes that the first documented gospel singing convention in Georgia was founded as the South Georgia Singing Convention by Uncle Billy Royal in 1875, prior to the convention profiled here].

Royal Singing Convention Memorial Entrance Mystic Irwin County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

As many of the old timers were passing on, the first commemoration of this special place was the placement of a granite marker by Uncle Billy’s grandchildren in 1953. It’s located at the entrance to the new memorial.

Royal Singing Convention Memorial Tabernacle Footprint Mystic Baptist Church Irwin County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This memorial reproduces the plan of the original tabernacle at full size. A low brick perimeter wall supported wooden posts which held up a massive roof. Today granite cubes indicate where those posts were located. The singer’s stages is recreated with the monument to “Uncle Billy”. At its edge, permanent memorials are dedicated to friends and loved ones or recall precious memories, favorite hymns and treasured Bible verses. It was dedicated in 1991 after much work by the Royal Singing Convention Association. The Board of Trustees included: Charles C. Royal, Jr., President; Dorothy Royal Grimsley, Vice President; Helen Day Spacek, Secretary; Ralph W. Sims, Treasurer; and board members Eloise Royal Luke, Michael F. Royal, and Jacqueline E. Turner. Stanford Anderson, a nationally-known architect and professor at MIT was responsible for the design.

Royal Singing Convention Memorial Mystic Irwin County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The memorial is located next to the historic Mystic Baptist Churh on Highway 32 in Mystic. It’s an open air memorial and therefore always open to the public. There is no admission charge.

Royal Singing Convention Memorial Mystic Irwin County GA Bust of Uncle Billy Royal by Marshall Daugherty 1953 Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Famed sculptor Marshall Daugherty, who created the John Wesley Monument in Savannah’s Reynolds Square, completed this bust of Uncle Billy Royal in 1953. Following are archival photos from the memorial.

Royal Singing Convention Tent in 1916 Mystic Irwin County GA

This is a view of the tabernacle tent in 1916. It was used from 1912 until 1919.

Royal Singing Convention Tabernacle Mystic Irwin County GA 1953

This photo from 1953 shows the tabernacle which was first used in 1920.

William Jackson Uncle Billy Royal Founder of Royal Singing Convention Mystic GA

William Jackson “Uncle Billy” Royal (16 April 1850-24 May 1931) – Founder and 1st President of the Convention.

James A Uncle Jimmie Royal President of Royal Singing Convention Mystic Irwin County GA

James A. “Uncle Jimmie” Royal – 2nd President of the Convention, 1931-1950. Son of William Jackson Royal.

Erston B Royal President of Royal Singing Convention Mystic Irwin Count GA

Erston B. Royal – 3rd and last President of the Convention, 1950-1977. Grandson of William Jackson Royal.

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Filed under --IRWIN COUNTY GA--, Mystic GA

Major John B. Mitchell Memorial, Cedar Creek Cemetery, Wilcox County

Major John B Mitchell CSA Memorial Cedar Creek Baptist Church Cemetery Wilcox County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

Having traveled past this memorial all my life, it was one of the first local landmarks I chose to photograph when I began doing the work for Vanishing South Georgia nearly a decade ago. This peaceful cemetery still fascinates me. The main attraction is the marble statue of a Major John B. Mitchell, so well executed that it’s finer than many county Confederate memorials.

Company O, 5th Georgia Infantry (21 September 1847 – 23 October 1913)

Major John B Mitchell CSA Memorial Detail Cedar Creek Baptist Cemetery Wilcox County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

The cemetery is the final resting place for many South Georgia pioneers and Confederate veterans.

Historic Cedar Creek Baptist Church Cemetery Grave Enclosure Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

This early enclosure is well-preserved compared to many, which have collapsed.

Historic Cedar Creek Baptist Church Cemetery Wilcox County GA Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2015

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Filed under --WILCOX COUNTY GA--

Confederate Memorial, Holmesville

Appling County GA Holmesville Confederate Monument Company F 47th Georgia Volunteer Infantry Appling Grays Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

This obelisk was placed by the Appling Grays Camp #918 and the Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans. It memorializes Confederate units from numerous counties that were once part of a larger Appling County: Company F, 47th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Appling Rangers; Companies I & K, Clinch’s 4th Georgia Cavalry; Company I, 27th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Appling Grays; Captain John Mayers’s Appling County Cavalry; Company B, 54th Georgia Volunteer Infantry, Appling Volunteers; Captain Ben Milikin’s Appling County Militia; Company K, 54th Georgia Volunteer Infanty, Satilla Rifles; Captain Silas Crosby’s Appling County Militia.

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Filed under --APPLING COUNTY GA--, Holmesville GA

Wheeler County War Memorial, Alamo

Alamo GA Downtown Railroad Street Wheeler County War Memorial Bronze Eagle Photograph Copyright Brian Brown Vanishing South Georgia USA 2014

Alamo has a nice memorial to its fallen heroes, located in a small park beside the police station on U. S. Highway 280. It features a bronze eagle atop a tapered obelisk surrounded by a granite wall listing the names of those who made the ultimate sacrifice. It was dedicated on 27 May 1996 by the Jenkins-Patterson Post 193 American Legion and Ladies Auxiliary.

World War I Casualties: Alexander Blackshear; Joseph Judson Bracewell; Joe Burns; Albert B. Carter; James Albert Clements; Henry H. Fields; Orlando Lee; Jessie A. Mercer; Thomas L. Purvis; George C. Windham

World War II Casualties: Gurney W. Alston; James D. Bracewell, Jr.; Eldridge D. Branch; Arlin W. Bridges, Sr.; S. I. Bullard; Neal Harlow Clark; Comer L. Jenkins; Herman A. McRae; Thomas L. Miller; Paul Nelms; Plumer M. Nelson; William D. Nobles; Hiram S. Patterson; Harlem D. Pope; Percy E. Pope; Vernice Ricks; Willie B. Roberts; Johnnie F. Rowland; B. Raymond Swain; Jack Twilley; John D. White

Korean War Casualties: Grady L. McCoy; James McDaniel; Julian D. Peebles, Jr.; James C. Rix

Vietnam Casualties: Russell B. Adams; Roger L. Bonner; Dawson Clements; Vertis Mackey; Melvin Poole; James R. Thomas

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Filed under --WHEELER COUNTY GA--, Alamo GA