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Cloaked somberly in gray moss, the branches of old oaks meet like cathedral arches above the drives and weathered tombstones. Even in spring, when crimson azaleas and white and pink camellias lend the cemetery the beauty of a garden, it is the gray monotone of trailing moss and old stone that most truly characterizes Bonaventure. Brown fallen leaves and here and there a bright petal drift past on the slow Wilmington River.

About 1760, Colonel John Mulryne, an English gentleman, moved from Charleston, South Carolina, to this site, built a house of English brick facing the river, and cultivated a beautiful garden. It is told that when his only child, Mary, married Josiah Tattnall of Charleston, avenues of trees were planted to honor her in the form of the initials M and T. Another story recounts that in later years a fire was discovered one evening as the Tattnalls were entertaining guests for dinner. Seeing that the flames were beyond control, the imperturbable host had the table removed to the garden where, in the light of the destroying flames, he regaled his nervous guests with witty conversation as his home was destroyed. …

The oldest graves are those of the Tattnall family and of the French soldiers who fell in an attempt to take Savannah from the British during the Revolution. 

STRANGER’S TOMB, at the entrance, was erected in memory of William Gaston, who was widely known for his hospitality. Because of his kindness to strangers, the people of Savannah honored him by building in his memory a receiving vault, where the body of any stranger who died in Savannah could be placed temporarily.

Georgia, A Guide To Its Towns and Countryside (WPA, 1940)

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It was a college summer session in Paris and the South of France that cemented Shevaun Williams' love affair with travel and the camera. She now calls the renovated, 4500 square foot Moss Brewing Company built in 1906 in Norman, Oklahoma her home studio and gallery. After over 30 years as a professional photographer, she is still inspired, driven and in love with all photography…film and digital…35mm to 4x5…and she can still rock a back flip off the one meter springboard. Find her website at www.shevaunwilliams.com and follow her work on instagram.com/shevyvision and shevyvision.tumblr.com.

This dispatch arrived care of THE AMERICAN GUIDE submission page. Be a guide yourself and send a post from your state: theamericanguide.org/submit.

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