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Column: Walk with the Spirits to benefit Historic Augusta

(Columns often contain opinion. Featured photo is from a Walk with the Spirits’ dress rehearsal Sunday, Oct. 15. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News)

I’ve always found historic cemeteries to be interesting.

Besides the architecture and the symbolism on the grave markers, the rich history in a cemetery fascinates me.

Saint Paul’s Church. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

I’ve trekked to locations far and wide and found myself standing at the graves of the famous and not-so-famous and wondering about the lives of the people buried there, and I often find myself researching those whose gravestones catch my eye.

I guess that’s the reason I’ve volunteered with Historic Augusta to help in the organization’s 17th annual Walk with the Spirits event that will be held Oct. 21 and 22.

I love Augusta’s history, and it’s a good chance for me to learn something plus I like dressing up in costume.

The first time I portrayed a spirit was around 2015 at Summerville Cemetery, then in 2018, I was my great-grandmother (four greats) at Magnolia Cemetery and next weekend, I’ll portray Hannah Anderson who died on a visit to her daughter who lived in Augusta.

This year’s tour is at Saint Paul’s Church, which was the site of the city’s first cemetery before burials began taking place in Cedar Grove and Magnolia.

“Our mission is to preserve historic sites and structures in Richmond County, but one of the ways to do that is connect the people with the buildings and sites and structures,” said Erick Montgomery, Historic Augusta’s executive director.

The small cemetery has graves dating to the early 1800s; indeed, the spirit I will portray died in 1815.

Some of the grave markers are hard to read as time and the elements have eroded them, but this event will bring those people back to life, so to speak.

“Buildings are inanimate objects, but by linking them with people, people understand our history better,” he said.

Many of those interred at Saint Paul’s had connections to the Revolutionary War or played an early role in the city of Augusta. Although he’s not on the tour, Ambrose Gordon, the great-grandfather of Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts is buried at Saint Paul’s, and you may see his grave as you pass through.

This year’s Walk with the Spirits features eight people portraying spirits.

Cemetery tours will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and will be spaced about 20 minutes apart. Each spirit will speak for about three to four minutes.

To learn more or reserve your spot, visit Historic Augusta’s website here.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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