Sunset Hill Cemetery, 1861, Valdosta

Strickland Family plot

Sunset Hill is the oldest public cemetery in Valdosta. It was established in 1861 with a gift of 30 acres by Charles Ogden Force, a former Valdosta postmaster. Like the vast majority of Victorian cemeteries, Sunset Hill has a park-like layout. It is well-maintained by the city. I only had time to document a few monuments, so the examples here are shared for their general aesthetic appeal.

Charles S. Strickland (22 February 1822-1 November 1883)
Emma Tillman Lane (9 January 1865-6 November 1906)
Emma Tillman Lane monument, detail
Dr. Oscar Samuel Cummings (27 April 1848-17 February 1883), Dove Finial
Dr. Oscar Samuel Cummings monument, The Last Voyage Bas Relief

This fascinating relief is one of four which adorn the sides of the monument of Dr. Oscar Samuel Cummings, a native of New Hampshire who practiced medicine and was an active Mason in Valdosta before his death. It is the work of the Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. Monumental Bronze marketed their memorials as “white bronze”, though they were neither white nor bronze. Instead, they were cast of zinc and were quite popular, and expensive, during the 1880s and 1890s.

The Last Voyage was designed by sculptor Archibald McKellar for the Monumental Bronze Company in 1881. It was based on A Gentle Wafting to Immortal Life, a marble sculpture by Felix M. Miller, and an engraving by William Roffe. Miller chose his title from a line in Milton’s Paradise Lost: “A death, like Sleep, A gentle wafting to immortal life.”

National Register of Historic Places

Author: Brian Brown

Brian Brown is a documentary photographer, author, and historian who lives in Coastal Georgia.

One thought on “Sunset Hill Cemetery, 1861, Valdosta”

  1. Is this the one next to Valdosta State Univ?  My wife and I took a student there a dozen years ago, and I laughed at the juxtaposition…. Told her it was a good thing that the “dorms were in a nice quiet neighborhood.”

    Rafe SemmesSavannah/Midway

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