Historic Augusta to answer requests for cemetery tours

Historic Augusta's Walk With the Spirits' tours at Summerville Cemetery last October proved to be such a success that organizers are bringing it back this year.

"It was so popular last year. All of the tours sold out. We had 330 people come," said Julia Jackson, of Historic Augusta. The Watson-Brown Foundation also is involved in the event. "So many people asked us to do the tours again and said, 'Please do Magnolia Cemetery.' "

Magnolia is one of Augusta's oldest cemeteries, and many Augustans who made a significant impact on the community are buried there. Residents will portray a few of them during the event Oct. 11-12.

Three people will act as tour guides and will take on the character of someone buried in the cemetery. Along the way, they will take groups to different parts of the cemetery to meet some of the others buried there. In all, there are 12 volunteer actors.

Superior Court Judge Danny Craig will return this year to portray the Rev. James Sanford Lamar, who was the pastor of First Christian Church and the father of Joseph R. Lamar, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice in the early 20th century.

Last year, Judge Craig participated in the tour at Summerville Cemetery as Joseph Lamar, said Ms. Jackson.

Visitors will meet people such as Charles Dawson Tilley and George Ratcliffe, who fought a duel to preserve the honor of Mary Clark DeLaigle, a widow whose father-in-law, Nicholas DeLaigle, donated part of his plantation to the city of Augusta in 1818 to add to a tract of land the city had purchased in 1817 for Magnolia Cemetery.

Mr. Tilley, the loser of the duel, is buried in the cemetery in the DeLaigle family plot.

Ms. Jackson said Mrs. DeLaigle and Mr. Tilley had corresponded, and those notes are being used as the foundation for a re-enactment of the duel.

Although he's not buried in Magnolia, Archibald Butt, who went down with the Titanic and has a bridge in Augusta named in his honor, will make an appearance, too.

"His parents are buried there," Ms. Jackson explained.

Although it's held in October, the tour is not designed to be a ghost walk but a historical re-enactment.

Ms. Jackson said it was difficult to narrow the group of featured Augustans to just 12.

"There is enough of a list to do this for years into the future," she said.

Those on this year's tour were chosen not only because of their impact on Augusta but also because of their proximity to one another in the cemetery.

Reach Charmain Z. Brackett at charmain.brackett@augustachronicle.com.

WALK WITH THE SPIRITS

WHEN: 3-6 p.m. Oct. 11-12

COST: $15 for adults, $10 for children. For groups of 10 or more, the price is $10 per person. Refreshments will be provided by Poppy Seeds

INFORMATION: Call (706) 724-0436 or visit www.historicaugusta.org

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