From left, Kevin de l'Aigle and Nikki Price clean Patrick Walsh's grave marker at Magnolia Cemetery.  Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News
From left, Kevin de l'Aigle and Nikki Price clean Patrick Walsh's grave marker at Magnolia Cemetery. Charmain Z. Brackett/Augusta Good News

Downtown group’s monthly cleanup of historic sites honors city’s Irish statesman

 In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, the grave of a revered Augusta-Irishman received some extra TLC from members of the Coalition for Action in Downtown Augusta March 15, despite a bit of a downpour.

Patrick Walsh, who served as the city’s mayor and as editor of The Augusta Chronicle, is buried in Magnolia Cemetery. After attending a ceremony in March 2023 at Walsh’s statue in Barrett Plaza on Telfair Street, Kevin de l’Aigle, CADA founder, was inspired and did a search for Walsh’s grave.

Patrick Walsh’s grave marker after Friday’s clean up. Photo courtesy Kevin de l’Aigle

When he located it, he was surprised by a nearby headstone of DeLaigle McDonnald. Curious, he consulted a cousin who knows about de l’Aigle family history to find out more.

“Walsh adopted DeLaigle,” said Kevin de l’Aigle. The McDonnalds were Walsh’s in-laws.  DeLaigle McDonnald drowned when he was only 16.

de l’Aigle said as he learned more about Walsh, he was impressed with him and his character.

According to a 2010 article in The Augusta Chronicle, Walsh was known to use the paper’s opinion page to ”attack the region’s wrongs — particularly in its treatment of former slaves.”

Before de l’Aigle and Nikki Price, another CADA member, began their cleaning of the marker, Walsh’s name was barely legible from the layers of dirt covering it. As they brushed away the grime, his name as well as the epitaph of “Blessed are they that saw thee and were honored so with thy friendship” emerged.

The information about Anna Walsh, Patrick Walsh’s wife, was uncovered as well.

At the base of the marker, shamrocks, a symbol of the Walsh’s homeland, grow.

de l’Aigle heads a clean-up about once a month usually following some type of theme. For President’s Day in 2023, they cleaned up the monument highlighting President George Washington’s visit to the Garden City and planted flowers. Washington’s marker has been cleaned twice, he said.

They’ve done projects at Saint Paul’s Church. In February, they cleaned, planted and beautified the Cedar Grove Cemetery Remembrance Garden with volunteers from Friends of Cedar Grove.

They performed a larger clean-up at Magnolia last year with the Just Serve effort, clearing weeds and doing other landscaping and beautification. de l’Aigle said this event will be held again beginning at 9 a.m. May 18 at Magnolia Cemetery.

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

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