History at the cemetery!

Published 10:10 am Saturday, April 28, 2012

Bill Flemming as William Peabody

The Oak City Cemetery Living History Tour made creative use of local folks to portray notable people from Bainbridge’s history on Friday night.

Pictured above is William Peabody, as portrayed by Bill Fleming, who was the first person to be buried at Oak City Cemetery, before it was a cemetery.

The original site of Oak City Cemetery was an Indian Village. The cemetery was established in 1852, at the time Peabody was buried there.

Dr. J.D. Chason, as portrayed by retired Bainbridge College professor Dr. Ray Chambers,was one of two doctors responsible for creating the Riverside Hospital overlooking the Flint River on the bluff that is currently the home of Bainbridge Leisure Services. Riverside hospital was built by the late Dr. J.D. Chason and his brother Dr. Gordon Chason. That hospital opened its doors to the first patient shortly before the Armistice in 1918. Drs. R.F. Wheat, W.L. Wilkinson and Pierce Tucker also practiced at the Riverside Hospital. Memorial Hospital opened in 1960.

THE BATTLING BOWER WIVES, played by Joanie Williams and Marjorie Mayfield, were actually sisters. Each was married to Judge Byron B. Bower, portrayed by Joe Frank Battles, who married the younger one after his first wife died. Judge Bower was a Superior Court Judge of the Albany Circuit of Southwest Georgia and an early promoter of the railroad in this area.

THE GRAVE OF 1930’S MOVIE STAR Miriam Hopkins is located in Oak City Cemetery. Hopkins was born in Savannah, but moved to Bainbridge to live with her grandparents following the divorce of her parents. She grew up in Bainbridge, where her grandfather was once a mayor, and one of the founders of St. John’s Episcopal Church. She later moved to New York where she studied theater at Syracuse University, and went on to become a well-known star of stage and screen from the 1930s through the 1960s, when she even appeared in early television shows. She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She was portrayed in the cemetery walk by Hannah Williams.

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