Oak Grove Cemetery, 1838, Brunswick

Oak Grove Chapel, or Wake House. Oak Grove Cemetery Society President Robert M. Gindhart III writes: For the record, recent research has revealed the true story of Oak Grove Chapel which was completed in April 1902 by the Ladies Oak Grove Cemetery Society. The chapel [originally thought built in the 1880s] was built in one year with donations of materials, cash, and labor.  The chapel had a 1902 value of $400. Three purposes for the chapel were to provide a place: for funerals in the cemetery; to hold Oak Grove Cemetery Society meetings and to store their garden tools.  That Society was founded on March 2,1901 and is not to be confused with today’s Oak Grove Cemetery Society founded on March 18, 2014.  In fact, when today’s Society chose the name, we knew nothing of the earlier group founded 113 years earlier.  Their work is today our work.  The ladies found Oak Grove in exactly the same condition as did today’s Society. 
The chapel was restored in 2017.

Oak Grove was established by the city of Brunswick in 1838 as its first public cemetery and was originally designed to encompass ten acres. I received a nice message from Oak Grove Cemetery Society President Robert M. Gindhart III and he updated some of the history of the site: The cemetery was finally reduced to the size we see today in 1901 to make way for the new Brunswick and Birmingham Railroad roadbed. This greatly altered the western boundary of Oak Grove, moving the fence 50 feet eastward. Fifty graves were exhumed and most of those were brought within the new cemetery boundary. Were all exhumed? Recently, OGCS, using Ground Penetrating Radar, identified hundreds of unknown graves.  We have added those to our electronic map found at: www.oakgrovetour.com identified by beginning with letter U and a blue dot.

Oak Grove contains a nice variety of Victorian funerary monuments and is one of Brunswick’s most fascinating public spaces. It shouldn’t be overlooked.

The memorials that follow were randomly selected and appear in no particular order

Eula L. Brown Dunwoody [1862-1890].
Nightingale Family Plot
Frances Nicolau Nightingale [1871-1948]. Founded in 1920, with Maya Stevens Bamford, Miss Nightingale’s School for Girls (Nightingale-Bramford School) in Manhattan. Graduates include Millicent Fenwick and Gloria Vanderbilt.
James D. Kenny [1828-1885]. Irish-born sailor.
Cornelia M. W. Boone [1847-1876]. Yellow fever victim.
Captain Douglas G. RIsley [1838-1882]. Captain Risley served the Union in the Civil War and founded the first public school for African-Americans in Brunswick in 1870.
Major Urbanus Dart, Sr. [1800-1883]. Upon his death in 1883, Major Dart was the oldest known citizen of Brunswick. He was associated with the first railroad chartered in Georgia and served in the state legislature.
William Harvey Anderson, Sr. [1837-1896] & Alethia I. Williams Anderson [1839-1904]. William Anderson, Sr., was a prominent contractor and builder in Brunswick and was responsible for the construction of Brunswick’s City Hall.
Anderson Mausoleum (Detail)
Anderson Mausoleum (Detail)
Anderson Mausoleum (Detail)
Hirsch & May Mausolea. Benjamin Moses Hirsch [1840-1927]. Bertha Elizabeth Hirshfield Hirsch [1842-1912]. Julius May [1863-1915]. Emma M. Hirsch May [1870-1946]. The Hirsch & May families were prominent Jewish merchants in Brunswick.
Samuel Bruce Moore [1835-1857].
Joseph Florence Lasserre [1844-1919] & Family. This monument was likely erected upon the death of Lasserre’s daughter, Ida, who died in 1898. Lasserre was a native of France and served as Captain in Harris’s Independent Co. Brunswick Riflemen, 26th Infantry Regiment of Georgia.
Satilla G. Brown [1857-1901]
Sir Rosendo Torras [1851-1929]. Rosendo Torras was a native of Spain who was knighted by King Gustaf of Sweden for service to the crown. He came to Brunswick in the 1890s as captain of a sailing ship. His son, Fernando J. Torras, was an engineer and the builder and namesake of the causeway to St. Simons Island.
Unidentified Brick Crypt
William Williams [1800-1885]. Demis Broad Williams [1814-1877].
O’Connor Family Plot
William Walter Watkins [1841-1885].
James Alexander Clubb, Jr. [1827-1889]. Clubb was the lighthouse keeper on Little Cumberland Island and was the pilot of the slave ship The Wanderer.
Townsend Plot Starburst Finial
Annie Louise Blain [1884-1891].
Annie Elizabeth Scranton Blain [1845-1880].

Oak Grove is open from dawn until dusk. Parking is free, on the street beside the cemetery.

National Register of Historic Places

1 thought on “Oak Grove Cemetery, 1838, Brunswick

  1. Cherry Smart

    After seeing your information on James Clubb, I was so intrigued that I was led to read a portion of the book entitled “The Slave Trader’s Letter Book” by Jim Jordan….. So interesting!
    I also was led to learn about Captain Douglas Gilbert Ridley…what a man!!

    Your fan all the way in Jamaica.🙋🇯🇲


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