‘Living history’ tour set for Oak City Cemetery

Published 8:55 am Friday, April 20, 2012


City of Bainbridge Communications Director

Bainbridge history will come to life on Friday, April 27, as the City of Bainbridge hosts the first Oak City Cemetery Living History Tour. The tour will feature local actors in period costumes portraying some of the city’s most famous citizens buried at the cemetery.

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The tour will feature 12 former Bainbridge residents. They include Miriam Hopkins, Benjamin Russell, Judge Byron Bower and his wives Annie and Ellen, William Peabody, Henrietta Brash, Elisha James Willis, J.W. Callahan, Maston O’Neal, Dr. J.D. Chason and Governor Marvin Griffin.

Tours will be available from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. and new tours will leave from the front entrance of the cemetery every 15 minutes. Tour guides will lead groups of 10 to 15 people through the tour, which will last about an hour. The event is free to the public.

Prior to the establishment of Bainbridge, the Oak City Cemetery site had long been home to an Indian village. It was established as a cemetery in 1852 when William H. Peabody was buried there. His grave is located next to the powder house, where gun powder was stored during the Civil War. In 1878, the west section of the cemetery was deeded to Temple Beth-El and became one of the first Jewish cemeteries in south Georgia.

The tentative cast for the tour is as follows: Miriam Hopkins (Hannah Williams), Judge Byron Bower (Joe Battles) and “the Bower Wives (Joanie Williams and Marjorie Mayfield),” Benjamin Russell (Royce Whittington), William Peabody  (Bill Fleming), Henrietta Brash (Shirley Fleming), Elisha James Willis (Ryan Cleveland), J.W. Callahan (Clayton Penhallegon), Maston O’Neal (Jim Gisondi), Dr. J.D. Chason (Dr. Ray Chambers) and Governor Marvin Griffin (Joe Livingston).