Sunday, October 30, 2005

Halloween in Savannah

As most of you know Cathy and I have a hobby called Geocaching, it involves using a GPS and finding things that have been hidden by other cachers around the world. Sometimes it's little pill bottles or large ammo or Tupperware boxes. Some of them contain Travel Bugs, which is an item that you take from one cache and put it in another farther down the road. Well that's what we were doing today, we had picked up a Travel Bug that was named Mr. Bones and it is a small skeleton that likes scary places. Lets see it's Halloween Eve, we have Mr. Bones and there's a scary cache in the Bonaventure Cemetery in downtown Savannah, so here's our story.

We had spent most of the day walking around downtown Savannah and the Riverfront and had just enjoyed a great meal at a little café when we decided to walk over to the Bonaventure Cemetery and drop off Mr. Bones at the 'Legend of John Daly Cache".

Legend has it the John Daly passed away on a cold wet autumn day just before Halloween and that he was laid to rest on Halloween Eve, 1899 at Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia, the one made famous by the movie Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, this is a large, eerie cemetery at the bank of the river. But it doesn't say how he died.

One year after his death, his wife, Hazel, decided to visit his grave on the anniversary of his death. She went there after dinner, even though it was late and getting dark, she told a neighbor that she would just be there for a minute and would be home in about 30 minutes. The neighbor forgot all about it until the next day when she went to Hazel's house and found the doors open and no one there. The neighbor got her husband and they went to John Daly's grave, where they found some fresh turned dirt, lying on top of the dirt was Hazel's gold wedding ring. She was never seen or heard from again.

Fifty years later Hazel's granddaughter, Janet, who had heard tales of her grandmothers disappearance wanted to try and figure out what happened so she decided to re-enact what her grandmother had done. She went to her grandmother's old house on Halloween Eve, and walked the same streets to the cemetery. When she didn't return home by 8 o'clock that night her husband called the police and told them the entire story. The police and her husband drove over to the cemetery and walked up to John Daly's grave where they found some fresh turned dirt, and lying right on top of it was a gold bracelet that had belonged to Hazel, and Janet had worn everyday since her mother, Hazel's daughter, gave it to her. Janet was never seen or heard from again.

Some storm clouds have moved in while we were eating dinner, it's starting to get dark and the wind is really picking up and blowing in off the river. You can feel the rain in the air, there's a huge flash of lightning and a loud crash of thunder so we were moving pretty fast now. After placing Mr. Bones in the cache container, which was hidden right behind the headstone, I stood up and noticed some fresh turned dirt on the grave, and right there on top of the dirt was my gold watch………………… and I was never seen or heard from again.

So sleep well tonight all our friends out there in blog land…Oh! And have a Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Charleston's hidden gems

The first two days here in Charleston were sunny and in the 80's so we sat around watching baseball & Football. Monday we decided to do a little grave hunting and of course it had dropped down into the 60's and was raining, good weather for cemeteries. The tomb to the right is that of Francis Marion "the Swamp Fox". Ever since the movie The Patriot came out we've been bumping it to this guy, either a historical marker about his exploits or a location where they filmed part of the movie. We did a little Internet research and found where his grave was, gee it's only a 125 miles round trip from where we're camped so we figured why not. He's buried in a little family cemetery off of a very small side road, once through the gates you drive back on a very narrow one lane road for a mile to the tomb which is very well maintained. Surprize, surprize, in the middle of no where in the rain, back in the woods of the old Belle Isle Plantaions, there were already two people back there. A couple of construction workers who got rained out of work today. One of their daughters was doing a book report on the General and he decided to come back here and check things out for her, we bs'ed for about 45 minutes and he told us about some neat things at a hidden cemetery in Charleston.

Magnolia Cemetery.
This is a photo of the first crew of the Civil War submarine the HUNLEY they drowned when the ship was just pulling away from the dock and the wash from a passing ship went into an open hatch. Their graves were just discovered a few years ago and moved to this location, with full military ceremonies. They were doing some work on the football stadium at the Citidel Military Academy and dug up the bodies. It turns out that the stadium is built on top of an old Mariners cemetery. When the bodies were recovered from the sinking of the ship they were quietly moved to the cemertey for burial, much like today we don't need the bad press. especially when one of them was a 13 year old boy.

This is the monument for the second crew of the Hunley, that drowned about 10 days after the first crew did. This time they made it away from the dock but apparently not to much futher then that. If you notice the designer of the sub Horace Hunley waited until the second sailing before he got on board. Of course the third crew of the Hunley drowned the first time the ship went into battle and it along with their bodies were not recovered until a few years ago.
This cemetery is really hidden and took us awhile to find, even with directions, but any cemetery that has a sign just in side the gate that sez "Five hundred dollar fine for feeding the alligators" well you just have to love it. We ended up spending about 2 hours walking and driving around looking at some of the great tombstones, there are a lot of famous people buried here.

The Greatest Free Show in Charleston. That's how they bill it.
The Citadel Cadets.

3:45 every Friday at the Citadel parade grounds the entire student body of cadets, 1900 strong put on a one hour show that you don't want to miss. They start with the bagpipers then the fife and drums and then the full assembly. This week happened to be the home coming so there were a lot of past graduates there. This included three federal Judges, a few General Officers and a whole bunch of guys with big gold class rings. It was kind of neat, at the end when they march by the stands for review, the alumni in the stands wait until the platoon that they served in is passing then they stand and salute.

This is the schools mascot, When one of the graduates (and later an instructor at the school) was killed in Viet Nam (1965), every cadet in the school donated their brass belt buckles, buttons and head dress. They then had them melted down to cast the statue. A few yeas later this Officer's son ( a citadel grad) was also killed in Viet Nam, the statue is dedicated to both of them.

We leave Charleton tomorrow and are heading to Savannah for another week of adventure.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Macon's Grave

When you travel a bunch of back roads and stop at just about anything that looks interesting you come across some very strange things. The picture about is one of those things, but more on that later.

We were going to stay in Richmond for a week but we had trouble finding a campground in the area, we did find one but we decided that I didn't have enough guns in the rig to make it a safe stay. We were going to spend the weekend at the National Folk Festival, which was being held in Richmond this year except Tropical Storm Tammy decided that she was going to make it the wettest weekend of the year so we just kept heading south. After a very long drive in a very heavy rain we got off the freeway at Roanoke Rapids for dinner and found nice little campground, since it was going to rain non-stop for the entire weekend we decided that this was home and we would spend the weekend watching football and the baseball playoffs.

It's Monday morning, and sometime during the night the rains have stopped so we jumped in the car and decided to check out the area, the town has an old canal with a couple of mills and an aqueduct that went around the rapids. Today it's a seven mile walking path which takes you from one side of town to the other following the old canal, actually the canal is dry and you walk in the middle of what was the canal and across the old aqueduct. After the walk we took a drive out around the lakes and came across what the historical marker said was Macon's Grave 2 miles north, now how can you not make a right turn to find out what this is all about.

Macon's Grave is a small family cemetery across from where the family farm was located. Nathaniel Macon was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, serving at the surrender of Fort Moultrie, the fall of Charleston, the rout at Camden, and with General Nathaniel Greene in his retreat across Carolina. When he left the military he refused a pension and all pay for his military service, he went on to serve as a congressman and US Senator for the next 37 years, Macon, Georgia and Fort Macon are both named in his honor. Now after all this you have to wonder why some thugs would dump a truckload of stones on top of his grave, well they didn't. He requested that at his death no grief be expressed and that dinner and a grog be served and that all his friends cast a stone on his grave, which they did. Over the years the tradition has continued and anyone visiting his grave brings a stone to throw onto the pile, which now covers the graves of his wife, son and grandson. Really it's true, you could look it up.

Jim n Cathy